Posts Tagged ‘nature’

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Sociable Gray Squirrel

squirrels On winter mornings when I look out my window, I often see a gray squirrel clinging upside down to the post supporting my bird feeder, with his front paws in the tray, munching sunflower seeds. Sometimes, a much smaller red squirrel is perched on the opposite side of the feeder.

This brings to mind my studies of squirrels years ago and the differences between the two species. For my thesis in biology at Williams College, I conducted a field study of social behavior and organization in the eastern gray squirrel in a suburban area in Williamstown, Massachusetts. My first step was to live-trap and mark squirrels so I could identify individuals. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, February 9, 2019

Adirondack Moose Survey Results: 175 in 83 Groups

moose New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced the completion of it’s annual aerial Adirondack moose survey, part of a collaborative study of the health of New York’s moose population.

A total of 83 groups of one or more moose were observed during the survey’s 175 sightings, with all appearing healthy. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Beneath The Ice: The Quiet Parlor of the Fishes

ice skating When I’m skiing or skating across a pond, I observe the shoreline, surrounding hills, islands, maybe a woodpecker or blue jay winging its way to the opposite shore. I look up at the sky, the clouds, swirling snowflakes. But there is a world beneath my feet that I don’t see, in what Henry David Thoreau called “the quiet parlor of the fishes.”

Beneath a layer of ice up to three feet thick, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and tiny invertebrates are going about their winter business. For most of these creatures, this means slowing their metabolism down to survive with reduced light and oxygen. They move less, eat less, and breathe more slowly than in warmer months. » Continue Reading.


Monday, February 4, 2019

Viewpoint: Adirondack Trapping and Your Pet’s Safety

raccoon trappingDuring the winter season, New York trappers will continue setting leghold and “Conibear,” or body-crushing, traps throughout the countryside. Their goal is to capture coyotes, foxes, bobcats and other wildlife.

These devices are frequently placed around trails and roads enjoyed by hikers, nature enthusiasts and their companion animals. Unfortunately, pet owners remain largely unaware that such devices could lie in wait, threatening our dogs, cats and other unintended targets. » Continue Reading.


Monday, February 4, 2019

Paul Hetzler: Playing Your Brains Out

common ravensBody-surfing monster waves in Australia; snowboarding down rooftops in Alaska on improvised boards; tobogganing into deliberate pileups at the bottom of steep hills — the range of unsupervised play that youngsters can get into is jaw-dropping. That’s not to mention the dangerous romping and horseplay, as well as rude games like spit-soccer in the pool. Honestly, they are such animals.

Biologists have long pondered why so many animal species evolved to play, occasionally at their peril. And to some extent, they are still wondering. Juvenile play in primates such as humans and apes is well-documented, and other mammals such as dogs and cats clearly play as well, but it turns out a surprising array of animals engage in frivolous games. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, February 3, 2019

Tyler Socash: An Eagle Mountain Wilderness Preserve

A future Willsboro Wildway

Think about the last unexpected mammal, bird, or amphibian that you crossed paths with in a wild space. Perhaps it was a black-backed woodpecker near a bog. Maybe it was an unassuming spotted salamander among the fallen leaves. I once saw a frolicking family of fishers on a walk in the woods.

Anecdotal wildlife encounters help to remind us we aren’t alone in this world. We share natural landscapes with thousands of species who call them home.  But look at a map of the Eastern Adirondacks and a few things stand out: Lake Champlain’s massive coastline, the Adirondack Forest Preserve closer to the Park’s interior, and the Adirondack Northway (I-87), splitting the region in two. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Whitney’s Elk Relocation Experiment

elk enclosure sketchIn the early 1900s, numerous elk were set loose at several places in the Adirondacks, with the hope of re-introducing the species.

These efforts, made possible by private individuals, were described briefly in a book by William Temple Hornaday, American Natural History: A Foundation of Useful Knowledge of the Higher Animals of North America, Volume 2 (published in 1914). » Continue Reading.


Monday, January 28, 2019

4-H Adirondack Guides Orientation Planned

4H new guide orientation programCornell Cooperative Extension of Warren County has announced a new 4-H guide orientation program, set for Thursday, January 31st, from 6:30 to 7:30 pm, at 377 Schroon River Road in Warrensburg.

All prospective or interested youths and their families are welcome to attend. Pre-registration is required, and there is no cost for this event. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, January 20, 2019

Some Science Behind Lake Champlain’s Ice

ice fishing Come mid-January, when I’m acclimatized to winter, I enjoy an occasional stroll on the icy surface of Lake Champlain. I favor bays sheltered from the brunt of winter winds where the ice has had ample time to thicken. I pull microspikes on over my boots and off I go.

There’s room to roam between Burlington and the breakwater that parallels the shoreline. The lake ice locks spectacular natural art in place. Bubbles trapped under December ice are entombed as January’s ice forms below. Crystalline patterns resembling minute stars form during the various freezing and thawing cycles that occur as lake ice interacts with fallen snow. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Adaptations to Extremes: Art, Science Panel Discussion

painting by elizabeth albertThe Lake George Arts Project’s Courthouse Gallery has announced “Adaptations to Extremes,” an Art-Science exhibition set to run from January 19th to February 22nd.

An opening reception has been set for Saturday, January 19th from 4 to 6 pm, and a panel discussion writer Michael Coffey serving as moderator on Sunday, January 20th at the Bolton Historical Museum at 3 pm. Both events are free and open to the public. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Opinion: Adirondack Park Needs More Wilderness

high peaks by carl heilman ii“It’s Debatable” appears in each issue of the Adirondack Explorer.  This essay is a companion piece to “Opinion: Adirondack Park Doesn’t Need More Wilderness” by Matthew Simpson, which will appear on the Adirondack Almanack on Wednesday, January 16th.

Do we need more wilderness? Don’t be silly — yes, of course we do. Wilderness has been a defining element of the Adirondacks for more than two centuries, as much an iconic part of the landscape as loons, black bears and red efts. Even if we can’t always be in the wilderness, we find inspiration knowing that it’s out there, somewhere past those foothills on the horizon. » Continue Reading.


Monday, January 14, 2019

Remembering Elk in the Adirondacks

elkHundreds of years ago, haunting bugle-like calls echoed through these hills and valleys. The sounds were made by bull elk to attract mates and fend off rivals.

Elk in the Northeast?  Yes, elk were once the most widely distributed of North American hoofed mammals. Millions roamed over much of the U.S. and Canada. Adaptable to a variety of habitats, elk were found in the Adirondacks, and in most ecosystems except the tundra, deserts, and the Gulf Coast. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, January 5, 2019

Sparkle Snow: An Outside Story

snowflakes The other day I was driving through New Hampshire’s Crawford Notch, where my eyes are usually drawn to the tall mountains and long, cascading waterfalls on either side of the road. But on this day my gaze shifted toward the snowbanks lining the narrow highway. The sun was shining and the landscape glittered. The sparkle of sunlight on cold white reminded me of childhood trips, when I would look out the backseat window at passing fields and imagine all those tiny glimmers were winter fairies, twirling and skipping through the snow.

Snow sparkle isn’t (as far as science has revealed) attributable to fairies, but to light bouncing off the snow at multiple angles. “When you have a really cold snowfall, you tend to get a bunch of little individual plates,” explained Adam Gill, a weather observer and meteorologist with the Mount Washington Observatory. “It’s like billions of these little tiny reflectors all over the ground. If there’s a bright light source, if you’re at the correct angle, that light source will reflect back at you.” As we move across the landscape, our angle changes, and light flashes from different directions. » Continue Reading.


Friday, January 4, 2019

Winter Weather: Sundogs and Halos and Glitter – Oh, My!

sun dogs Had a unicorn pranced across the trail in front of me, I wouldn’t have been surprised.

It was one of those sparkly winter days, when snow drapes fir trees and glints across the landscape. I was at the top of Cannon Mountain in New Hampshire’s Franconia Notch, and an undercast made it seem as if the summit were a sunny island above a sea of clouds. To add to the wonder, there was something magical happening in the sky, which shimmered with color and light. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, January 3, 2019

Emerging Invasive Forest Pests Educational Program Planned

Young spotted lanternflies An educational program, “Emerging Invasive Forest Pests: Identification, Prevention & Management,” has been set for Wednesday, January 16th, 2019 from 9 am to 3:30 pm at the St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES Education Center’s Classroom A, 40 West Main Street in Canton, NY.

The program will provide information on four invasive species in the Adirondacks, Asian Spotted Lanternfly; Asian Earthworms; Oak Wilt; and Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, as well as a Hemlock Woolly Adelgid scouting trip. » Continue Reading.