Arrived back in the Adirondacks today [Monday, July 3] after two days of being driven from West Yellowstone to Webster (and another four hours to get home from there today.) Made a stop at the Remsen bog on the way here and some of the showy lady’s slippers were still out. [I] also stopped to check on some of my Loons along the way. Some were still sitting, and others had hatched their chicks and were on the water with their young. So, if you are out and about on the water and see a family of Loons, give them some space and take pictures with a long lens.
The smoke has gone away (somewhat) with the recent rain and wind change. With 8 million acres-plus on fire, that makes lots of smoke. It was so bad when I was out on the Cedar River Flow that it hid a thunderstorm because you couldn’t see the real clouds. Suddenly there was thunder booming not far away. I made it back to the landing and just got the canoe strapped onto the truck when the skies opened up. There was hail and a big temperature change of about fifteen degrees.
Here I am again at the Ticonderoga Library, getting a break from the Crown Point Banding Station after catching some nice birds this morning [May 16.] [We will be] looking out for some thunderstorms this afternoon, which should knock down some birds that have been flying right over us for a couple days. We caught some new birds (for this year) to band this morning, [including] Tree Swallow, Canada Warbler, and a Brown Thrasher just before I left (which is the bird on the cover of the bird list for the Crown Point Historic Site.)
[Locally, the weather] has been April showers that bring May flowers, and it also lessened the fire danger by keeping the leaf litter wet. The outdoor burning ban is still on until May 14. If we get some more warm days, the trees should be pushing out their leaves and flowers. Several wildflowers have popped out from the leaf cover and showed us their beauty. Yellow coltsfoot lines the roadsides in many places and the flowers face the sun as it goes from east to west. It looks like a dandelion flower, but it has little leaves on the stem of the flowers. Wild oats is a single yellow hanging bell, [and] the trout lily is out everywhere with its yellow flower and speckled green and brown leaves.
The SUNY-ESF Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC) has announced a variety of events set for May and June that is sure to appeal to a wide array of nature and outdoor enthusiasts. All of the below programs require pre-registration.
The coldest morning so far (at 24 degrees) did in my dahlias, which had several blooms still trying to come out. I covered my toad lilies and saved them for a few more blooms, then cut them off and brought them inside where they are blooming in water on the windowsill. The warm spell over the weekend sure hatched out the ladybugs. There were hundreds trying to get in somewhere to spend the winter on the sunny side of the house and garage. They get under the edges of my windows, and I find them when I release one of my banded birds out the window.
With the shooting in the Buffalo Tops Market, killing 10 and three wounded, and the Uvalde, Texas Robb Elementary School shooting, in which 19 children and two teachers were killed, not much was heard of the fires still burning in New Mexico (largest ever) and the first Hurricane Agatha to hit Mexico. It first killed 11 and thirty missing, then traveled across the Gulf of Mexico and hit southern Florida with 12 to 15 inches of rain as Tropical Storm Alex. Many people seem to be living in a bubble, yet ducking COVID, which is still catching lots of people by surprise.
Back to the first two on the list. I was a Hunter Safety Training Trainer for the DEC for over twenty-five years, and it was only near the end of that time, that the AR-15 was just showing up on the public market. I never saw it as a hunting weapon, and still don’t. It’s a killing machine invented for war, which is now being waged on children in schools and public events and places where there are lots of people.
Some beneficial wild plants suffer from reputation: To nettle someone means to annoy them, and nettle plants are in fact covered with hollow micro-spikes that inject a skin irritant. But nettles are also an early-spring cooked green par excellence.
Other plants are victims of poor branding. Critical to the survival of monarch butterflies, milkweed is delicious when cooked. Jewelweed, native to wetlands, contains a sap which counteracts poison ivy, and its orange or yellow orchid-like flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Yet both plants have names which define them as undesirable.
The Ausable River Association (AsRA) has announced the schedule for their free, guided interpretive outdoor programs in the northern Adirondacks this spring.
“We are excited to grow our popular guided watershed tours this year,” said Kelley Tucker, AsRA’s Executive Director. “We’re offering guided tours in all seasons this year, and our spring tours will focus on native wildflowers, birds, bats, and other Adirondack species.”
“This year’s programs include 15 guided trips to locations in the Ausable, Boquet, and Saranac River watersheds,” said Tyler Merriam, Donor Outreach Manager.
Three spring programs kick off the season. The first is a birding walk in a private preserve along the West Branch Ausable River. Dr. Larry Master, conservation biologist/zoologist and past Ausable River Association board chair, and Derek Rogers, ace birder and Stewardship Director with the Adirondack Land Trust, will lead this tour.
Have 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).
As autumn approaches, the days grow shorter, evenings grow cooler, acorns fall from the oaks, and the maples, in anticipation of the coming change of season, start to reveal hints of the glorious spectacle of color that lies ahead.
It’s also the time of year when the goldenrod and the asters (also called starworts or frost flowers) present their showy blooms along roadsides and forest edges, in woodland openings, meadows, and old fields, and along stream banks. At a time when most other perennials have finished blooming, their eye-catching flowers are an abundant source of nectar for bees and butterflies, including adult monarchs, setting out on their remarkable flight to overwintering sites in the high-mountain forests of central Mexico. The seeds of both (and the insect larvae that feed on the plants themselves) are a valuable food source for birds, including migratory birds making their way south, and for many small mammals, as well.
Like the bees, once the temperature gets to 50 degrees and above my husband and I are outside on the move. Its not hard to notice the changes in the view from morning to evening when you spend nearly 80 percent of your time in nature like we do. In the morning the wild flowers are on display, bringing life and a multitude color to a mountain landscape but in the evening the once vibrant petals close and shades of green take over.
Have these flowers become sleepy and fallen into a slumber and if they’re not sleeping, why have they closed for the night?
Look at the wild flowers. See how they grow. – Luke 12:27; International Children’s Bible
You belong among the wildflowers. – Tom Petty
Love is like wildflowers; it’s often found in the most unlikely places. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
As I walk along the fields, meadows, and roads or hike through the forests of northern New York, I often come across wildflowers and think, “those would look great in my yard.” Native wildflowers are hardy, low maintenance, and attractive to pollinators, which makes them very desirable for cultivated landscapes. And, because they’re adapted to the climate and soils of the region, when grown under similar conditions they’re generally well-suited for use in home gardens and landscapes.
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. ”
You can find wildflowers just about anywhere! Look for wildflowers at your local park, in your backyard, in fields and forests, and along roadsides. Not only are they nice to look at, but can be food for wildlife, including pollinators.
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