The report concludes that the Adirondacks are ready for the largest expansion of motor-free wilderness in a generation. National media have been focusing attention on the upcoming Presidential election and on the hottest summer on record. But there is another story of national importance unfolding in the Adirondacks right now. » Continue Reading.
Posts Tagged ‘wildlife’
Are you interested in learning more about the habitats, plants, and animals of New York State? Are you a citizen, landowner, teacher, park naturalist, land trust employee, conservation planning board member or natural resource professional looking to increase your knowledge of the natural environment? Cornell Cooperative Extension will offer a Master Naturalist Training at 4-H Camp Overlook in Malone, NY from September 23-25, 2016. » Continue Reading.
Clouds of tiny insects, rising and falling hypnotically along lake shores, contribute to the ambiance of warm summer evenings. My recent bike ride was interrupted by a lungful of this ambiance.
If you find yourself in a similar predicament, you might wonder what these miniscule flies were doing before being swallowed, where they came from, whether they bite, and whether we need these interrupters of peaceful lakeside jaunts. We’ll get to these questions, but first, let me say that as an ecologist, I find these insects to be among the most fascinating and important freshwater invertebrates. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is accepting comments on proposed changes to freshwater fishing regulations through October 7, 2016. DEC modifies freshwater sportfishing regulations approximately every two years.
The new freshwater sportfishing regulations are scheduled to take effect on April 1, 2017. Once enacted, the new regulations will be included in the 2017-18 Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide.
The 9th Annual Adirondack Habitat Awareness Day will take place on Sunday, September 4th, at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, at 977 Springfield Road in Wilmington, and it’s all about change in the Adirondacks: changing climate, changing wildlife and changing realities.
Visitors will be able to meet and learn about gray wolves, coywolves, coyotes, fox, bobcat, fisher, and porcupines, along with bald eagles, hawks, falcons and owls. Professor Curt Stager of Paul Smiths College, an accomplished ecologist, paleoclimatologist, and author of Deep Future and Field Notes from the Northern Forest, and more, will be keynote speaker, and will team with Paul Smiths’ students for other educational opportunites.
Birdsong has always fascinated humans. Besides waking some of us up a wee bit too early in the morning, it has inspired musical compositions and immortal poetry. It has produced lush descriptions, like those of the early 1900s field guide author F. Schuyler Mathews, who wrote of the wood thrush’s song: “It is like the harmonious tinkling of crystal wine-glasses, combined with the vox angelica stop of the cathedral organ.”
Simon Pease Cheney, Mathews’ contemporary, wrote in Woods Notes Wild, that “one is oblivious to all else, and ready to believe that the little song is not of earth but a wandering strain from the skies.” » Continue Reading.
Dinosaurs were the dominant life form on earth for 170 million years, finally going extinct at the end of the cretaceous period, 65 million years ago, when a huge comet crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. Birds of prey are descended from theropods, a type of dinosaur that walked on its hind legs, while their smaller forelimbs were used, like arms and hands, for reaching and grabbing.
Theropods are usually represented by T-Rex, Allosaurus and Velociraptor, though most theropods were no larger than dogs. During this long period, the earth underwent climate change, just as it does today, and fossilized remains indicate that feathers began to develop about 150 million years ago, and those theropods which developed them survived to breed in cooler temperatures, while those lacking them perished. » Continue Reading.
The first red squirrel appeared at about 50 mph. It climbed up over my headrest and landed in my lap. I don’t recall the next few seconds very clearly, but according to my 5-year-old daughter Lucy, I yelled something along the lines of, “oo squirrel. oo oo. squirrel squirrel.”
What I do remember is concentrating on finding a safe place to pull over, and my surprise that the squirrel remained in my lap for the duration. It had a warm, soft weight. Puppy-like. I brought the car to a stop by some woods and pushed the button to the passenger side window. The squirrel came out of stasis, ricocheted off the steering wheel, and launched itself into the bushes.
And that, I thought, was the end of the anecdote. No harm done, and a cautionary tale about why it’s unwise to leave the sun roof open in squirrel country. » Continue Reading.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that the agency’s outdoor magazine The Conservationist, published since 1946, will now be available in both print and digital editions.
The digital edition will offer subscribers additional content, including video and audio files and more pictures.
For a limited time, the digital version of the August 2016 issue is being made available free of charge for all to see here. Current subscribers to the print edition who have provided an e-mail address will be notified when new digital issues become available.
The August edition includes articles on clamming, incredible pictures of dragonflies, and a thrilling piece on how Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger made a successful emergency landing of U.S. Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River after both of the plane’s engines were disabled by hitting Canada geese in flight. » Continue Reading.
The honey bee is an introduced species in North America. It’s only been here about 400 years, brought by English colonists who found none after stumbling ashore and then promptly put in an order with their backers back home.
The honey bee, more properly known as the European honey bee, took to its new home, spreading across the continent faster than its keepers. Thomas Jefferson, an astute observer of nature if there ever was one, wrote that Native Americans called them “the white man’s fly.”
Bee colonies thrived in hollow trees as well as in hollow logs called “bee gums” (later bee hives) kept by beekeepers. Thrived, that is, until recently, when wild honeybee populations crashed. Of several contributing factors, the main one is undoubtedly Varroa destructor, a bloodsucking mite native to Asia.. Like a tiny eight-legged vampire, the pencil point-sized red mite latches onto a bee and sucks its hemolymph (the bee version of blood) while spreading debilitating viruses. The mite’s introduction in the mid 1990s caused a crisis in American beekeeping and swept wild colonies from the woods. » Continue Reading.
On a snowy winter night in Lake George, in 2010, Cindy Eggleston’s motion-detecting light came on in her back yard. She looked out her kitchen window and saw a big cat. A really big cat. Her husband, a retired conservation officer, guessed that it must have been a bobcat. No, she said, “it had a long tail.” So he went out to look around. In the snow he found huge tracks and, eventually, a hair sample. DNA analysis subsequently showed that these hairs came from a cougar, an animal whose last proven presence in the Adirondacks had occurred over a century before.
The life and death of this wandering cougar, along with a history of this splendid animal in North America and a discussion of its current status, are the subjects of Heart of a Lion: A Lone Cat’s Walk across America, a fascinating book by William Stolzenburg. He debunks myths and spins an engaging and often sad story. » Continue Reading.
I always do a second take when I see a killdeer skittering across a northern New Hampshire lawn, more than 100 miles from any ocean. These lanky birds look and move like they belong at the shore, running along the edges of waves. Despite their shorebird appearance, killdeer are present throughout our region – in yards, fields, parking lots, and even atop gravel rooftops.
“They’re one of our plovers, which you do usually see along the shore,” said Rebecca Suomala, a wildlife biologist with New Hampshire Audubon. “They just have a different niche.” » Continue Reading.
To be good at catching fish these days you have to be good at letting fish go. Releasing fish unharmed turns out to be a good way to share a limited resource, and depending on what you hook, it also may be required by fishing regulations. Yet releasing fish successfully can be tricky. There’s nothing more demoralizing than watching a released fish turn sideways and drift downstream.
Scientists have been studying release techniques since the 1950s, when the catch and release ethic first took hold in this country. Over the years, every imaginable variable affecting fish survival has been studied, including stress from air exposure, exhaustion, bait type and size, hook type, water temperature and water depth (shallow dwelling fish do better than deep caught fish, which are stressed by changes in water pressure), net design, net versus no net, differences between species, size of fish (large survive better than small). Researchers have looked at sub-lethal injuries, too, and their impact on growth and reproduction…the list goes on. » Continue Reading.
By mid-July, the oregano in my herb garden has grown tall and tatty, and I want nothing more than to cut it back into a tidy mound. But I don’t. Doing so would deprive the flurry of common wood nymph butterflies that swarm the plants every year. The messiness is a small price to pay for the sight of them flitting around en masse.
I have learned to expect their arrival, having witnessed it every summer, since I planted gardens around my home six years ago. At first, just one or two appear, but within days there are dozens. Soon, the oregano’s purple flowers are covered in butterflies. But this brief visit is a only a part of the story of the common wood nymph butterfly (Cercyonis pegala). What are they doing for the other eleven and a half months of the year?
Not much, it turns out. At least, not at first. » Continue Reading.
Due to the dry conditions black bears have been more active than usual throughout the Adirondacks. You can take steps to prevent problems with nuisance bears.
NEVER feed bears. It is prohibited by regulation and is unsafe for humans and the bear. Nuisance bears that have become habituated to obtaining food from humans can be become aggressive, requiring DEC to euthanize them. » Continue Reading.