Posts Tagged ‘spring’

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Why Spring Smells So Good

Raindrops fall on a plant

As the soil warms up in April and May and green plants spring forth once again, a delicate aroma hangs in the air, apart from any floral scent wafting on the breeze. It’s earthy and fresh, and I find it almost intoxicating. It turns out that spring’s special perfume has some fun and quirky root causes. 

Spring’s perfume has long intrigued humans, to the point that sixty years ago, Australian scientists gave it a name: “petrichor.” Greek in origin, this word means “smells like a rock.” Or something like that. Not long after the wondrous bouquet of spring got its official name, British scientists in the UK found its main source, a tertiary alcohol they dubbed “geosmin,” another Greek-based term. Roughly translated, it means “smells like a rock.” 

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Monday, March 25, 2024

Signs of Spring

An American robin.

This week marks the first calendar-official days of spring. Some ground around the Adirondacks is covered in white while other parts are bare and evolving into the next season.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation in early March advised hikers to avoid elevations higher than 2,500 feet, an announcement made earlier than usual. The park saw the warmest winter on record, producing spring-like weather during the last weeks of the season.

But it’s still unknown how the conditions will impact the arrival of the traditional “signs of spring.”  We do know it’s been an early maple season. 

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Thursday, February 1, 2024

Again?

Punxsutawney Phil

I watched the 1993 film Groundhog Day featuring Bill Murray at least a dozen times. Or maybe it just felt that way. Just as February 2 was on a nonstop loop in the film, this year’s iteration of Groundhog Day is likely to feel roughly the same as all the previous ones. I think it’s a good metaphor for this time of year, as we stumble out each morning in the semi-dark to defrost the car, not even sure what day of the week it is. We probably don’t have the energy for an exciting holiday right now.

The notion that sunshine on the second day in February portends a late spring is an idea that began in ancient Europe. The date marks the pagan festival of Imbolc , halfway between the winter solstice and spring equinox. In the Celtic world, Imbolc was dedicated to the goddess Brigid (Brigit), the traditional patroness of healing, poetry, hearth and home, agriculture and fertility. She was also a fierce warrior who killed adversaries like a champ. As Christianity spread, Imbolc was supplanted by Candlemas Day , but both traditions embrace the “sunnyequals more winter, and cloudy means spring” theme. » Continue Reading.


Monday, April 17, 2023

Crocuses Ring In the Flower Season 

Crocuses

“Behold, my friends. The spring is come. The earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun. And we shall soon see the results of their love.” – Sitting Bull

 

It snowed during the night. But the snow turned to rain early in the morning. And by the afternoon, the sun was shining, bright and warm. I was mulling over the winter’s damage to yard trees and shrubs and considering the clean-up that lay ahead when something caught my eye; a splash of color amidst the thawing mat of leaves and needles, and patches of icy, dirty snow still covering the winter-weary ground. I took a few steps toward it and sure enough. There they were. The first of the spring crocuses; a cheery reminder that winter would soon be coming to an end and that the full beauty of spring lies ahead.

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Monday, April 3, 2023

Spring slowly

Adult male American Robin feeding nestlings

Deer are the first sign that

Spring has come … tracks up the

snow-laden driveway and in the

small meadow lakeside, wary polite

encounters when we drive up and

down our narrow dirt roads — the now

wiser deer engaging us, gauging our

movements and moments to dash from

one side to the other … full-rumped from

their winter encampments where they

avoid the few predators that dare the

deep woods, eat their fill of winter

mast and await the birthing of their

fawns in May and June.

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Thursday, May 12, 2022

Spring Beauties of the Forest Floor

trout lillies in springHave you spotted some of the first wildflowers in the forest? Late April into early May is when the famously fleeting flowers we call the spring ephemerals bloom – but only for a brief period of time! Known for bringing the first signs of the season to the forest floor, this group of perennials has only a short window of time to grow, flower, be pollinated, and produce seeds before the towering trees above them leaf out and steal their access to sunlight.

Beyond being beautiful, spring ephemerals are a source of nectar and pollen for many pollinators in a time when food is scarce. In return, pollinators help the plants reproduce and some (like ants) also spread their seeds, inadvertently helping to plant the next generation.

Just a few of the species you may spot include bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), trout lily (Erythronium americanum), red trillium (Trillium erectum), and spring beauty (Claytonia virginica). Many of these flowers are protected species, meaning it is illegal to pick or trample them. If you notice any in your yard, enjoy their brief beauty with only your eyes and camera.

Pictured: A mixed patch of spring ephemerals including trout lily (yellow flower) and spring beauty (pink flower).


Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Wildflowers of the Ausable

Spring is a wonderful time to get out and hunt for the early signs of wildflower season in the Ausable and Boquet watersheds. In an article by Leanna Thalmann, a water quality associate for the Ausable River Association, various types of wildflowers are explained and shown in beautifully captured pictures.

The article acts as a small guide to going out to the watersheds yourself to begin locating these wildflowers, which grow in a variety of places: rich, moist areas, dry meadows, and mixed forests alike.

Leanna Thalmann has some advice, however for those who wish to hunt for flowers themselves: “As with any encounter with wild things, it’s important to look at and love these beautiful flowers but leave them for the next person to admire. Never pick a wildflower. Many are protected species in the state of New York. ”

To read the full article, visit this link at ausableriver.org.


Friday, April 2, 2021

Mud season advisory: Stay off high-elevation trails

mudNYS DEC has released an early season muddy trails advisory urging hikers to postpone hikes on trails above 2,500 feet until high elevation trails have dried and hardened. As snow and ice continue to melt at high elevations, steep trails can pose a danger due to thick ice and deep, rotten snow. Thin soils are susceptible to erosion and sensitive alpine vegetation can be easily damaged.

Despite recent warm weather, high elevation trails are still covered in slowly melting ice and snow. The remaining compacted ice and snow on trails is rotten, slippery, and will not reliably support weight. These conditions, known as “monorails,” are difficult to hike and the adjacent rotten snow is particularly prone to postholing.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, April 2, 2021

Outdoor conditions (4/2): AMR permit system


outdoor conditions logoDEC and the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR) have launched a no-cost pilot reservation system to address public safety at a heavily traveled stretch on Route 73 in the town of Keene in the Adirondack High Peaks.

The Adirondack Mountain Reserve is a privately owned 7,000-acre land parcel located in the Town of Keene Valley that allows for limited public access through a conservation easement agreement with DEC.

The pilot reservation system does not apply to other areas in the Adirondack Park. The reservation system, operated by AMR, will facilitate safer public access to trailheads through the AMR gate and for Noonmark and Round mountains and improve visitors’ trip planning and preparation by ensuring they have guaranteed parking upon arrival. In recent years pedestrian traffic, illegal parking, and roadside stopping along Route 73 have created a dangerous environment for hikers and motorists alike.

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Friday, March 26, 2021

When will Mirror Lake’s ice go out? Your best guess welcome

mirror lakeIce out time is approaching! Pick the correct ice-out date on Mirror Lake in Lake Placid and you’ll be entered to win some Explorer swag. To enter, go to this post on the Explorer’s website and place your best guess in the comments before April 3. We’ll be picking three winners after the big melt. Ice out on Mirror Lake is documented by the Ausable River Association, and we’ll be using its data for the official ice-out date. You can review the Mirror Lake ice record, which goes back to 1903, on the organization’s website. Mirror Lake sediment core sampling, photo by Brendan Wiltse

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Spring comes to the mountains

springBy Patti Reiss Brooks

With windows shut, curtains drawn, and doors firmly latched against a long cold winter, no one heard her come on a breeze scented with sunshine and earth. She wore a fluttery light green dress that left her slim arms bare. Her slippered feet appeared to float over the hardened snow and in her wake birds, like bridesmaids, flew, singing their joy in following her.

If they had been looking they’d see how the drifts parted as she came down the mountain pass.

North Wind noticed and was not pleased with the ease she slipped in, softening his winter’s work. He reigned with a force that snapped trees as though they were twigs. Everything sought shelter and shivered when he howled. They cowered when he blustered. But this one … she didn’t lower her head in proper acquiesces when he blew.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2021

DEC begins ‘mud season’ seasonal road closures

Adirondack Mud SeasonClosures due to Spring Thaw 
Effective Monday, March 22, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Region 6 began closing all mud gates to snowmobile trails and seasonal access roads on Forest Preserve, State Forest, and Conservation Easement lands, due to spring thaw and muddy conditions. Gate closures are expected to be completed by Friday, March 26.

Motor vehicle use during the spring mud season damages roads, resulting in road opening delays. DEC will reopen the roads once they become dry enough to safely handle motor vehicle traffic and any necessary maintenance is completed.

Region 6 is comprised of Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Herkimer, and Oneida counties.


Tuesday, March 23, 2021

As the temperature heats up, so too does the activity of woolly bears

Woolly BearAs the old saying goes, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” During this transition, overwintering insects begin to reanimate. One insect that will soon regain mobility is the woolly bear, Pyrrharctia isabella Smith (Lepidoptera: Erebidae). The life cycle of this insect is complex, but if it is properly understood, then lepidopterists will have a much better chance of seeing one in the wild. 

The woolly bear overwinters as a larva. As the temperature gets cooler, the woolly bear larva will bask in the sun, using its dark coloration to gather heat. When the autumnal temperatures drop too low for basking to be sufficient, woolly bears ensconce themselves in leafy detritus. Snowfall serves to further insulate the moth from biting winter winds. Woolly bears are further protected by the chemical glycerol, which is produced by their bodies to protect them from extreme cold. This chemical is found in some antifreeze brands, and can be used in cars. Through strategic selection of overwintering sites and the use of glycerol, the woolly bear can survive temperatures as low as -60 oF.

Their survival can be put at risk if they are brought out of dormancy by unseasonal warmth, because they stop producing the chemicals necessary to protect themselves. Therefore, if a woolly bear is encountered in the wintertime, it is recommended that nature enthusiasts leave it alone.

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Saturday, March 20, 2021

Spring’s promise

 

spring melt

Winter’s Winds Wild

Ice Trickles Flow

Melting Deep Drifted

Sunlight Bright On White Snow

**********

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Monday, June 8, 2020

Red Fox Dens in Suburban Areas

At this time of year, when spring comes around and the flowers and trees start to bloom, the DEC receives calls about fox sightings around rural and suburban areas.

The Red Fox is small furbearer about 10 – 12 lbs.- (The size of a house cat) and during the spring they seek out den sites in order to raise their young (called “kits”). These den sites happen to sometimes be in less-than-ideal locations occasionally, including under porches and sheds. So, what should you do if this happens? The DEC has some recommendations:

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