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Adirondack Explorer

Archive for the ‘Natural History’ Category

July, 2013

Nature: Where Are the Deer Flies?


The daily round of intense rain that has plagued the region for the past several weeks has elevated most area waterways to abnormally high levels for this time of year, impacting many forms of animals. For one group of insects, the early summer flooding is particularly devastating, yet anyone that enjoys being outside at the start of this season can only view this widespread mortality as the silver lining to the persistent rains. From late June through mid July, deer flies can be most annoying to hikers, campers, canoeists, and individuals that work in the garden, yet this year there >>More


July, 2013

Adirondack Fishing: How the Trout Got Its Spots


When I was ten, I carried a tin can of worms and a battered fishing rod to the wild shores of Brickyard Pond, in the woods behind our subdivision. We caught mostly scrappy sunfish and white perch, with the occasional bass thrown in. There were alewives in some of the brooks, too, and we caught them with nets. As for the pretty trout that came from the hatchery truck, I never caught one. The fish I caught were mostly round, dark green or gray, and mottled like the mud and sand bottom of the pond. Then one day a friend’s >>More


July, 2013

Brant Lake: A Rainbow Just Before Sunset


A few days ago I photographed this rainbow just before sunset over Brant Lake. I had noticed a rather fine, misty rain coming down, with a nice brightness at the lower edge of the clouds, indicating a clear sky below the clouds where the sun would be shining shortly. I grabbed the camera and headed out in the car to see if the rainbow would materialize as hoped and was rewarded with this beautiful full rainbow and reflection in the lake from an open view on the west side of the lake. The post Brant Lake: A Rainbow Just Before >>More


July, 2013

New Leadership At North Country SPCA


The Board of Directors of the North Country Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NCSPCA), an Essex County no-kill shelter providing refuge to more than 400 dogs and cats each year, have announced the selection of Jessica Hartley as the organization’s new Executive Director. Hartley took over full-time at the new Frances Miller Adoption Center in Elizabethtown on July 1. She is expected to focus on finding new ways to fully develop the potential of the new adoption center in Elizabethtown and has plans to expand programming, outreach and collaborative efforts with other animal welfare organizations. The public is >>More


July, 2013

The Dragonfly: Master of Flight


The ability of a flying animal to move through the air varies greatly, with some creatures possessing an exceptional mastery of this skill. While many forms of life simply use their aerial capabilities to quickly and efficiently travel from one place to another, others have evolved extraordinary airborne talents. Bats, swallows and swifts are all well known for their highly maneuverable style of flight, allowing these hunters to pursue and capture bugs in the air. Yet, from an aerodynamic perspective, the most unique and complex flying creature in the Adirondacks is the dragonfly, which must be considered the true master >>More


June, 2013

Bill Ingersoll: A Whiff of Smoke


A patch of spruce blocks my way to the edge of the pond. The stand isn’t thick, but the dead lower branches point toward each other like bars on a turnstile, daring me to pass through untouched. I rotate my torso, but my knapsack does not make my profile any narrower. The bare, brittle twigs scratch at my shirt, a friction that slows me for a few seconds, while Purdy easily passes below the lowest branches and reaches the water first. The tips of some of the twigs snap off as I push my way through, but then I move >>More


June, 2013

50 Years Ago: The 1963 Giant Mountain Landslide


Fifty years ago, on June 29, 1963, a thunderstorm stalled over Giant Mountain. Heavy rain saturated the thin soil near its summit, gradually weakening its hold on the smooth anorthosite surface.  It was a Saturday: several hikers and campers were on the mountain. Three thousand feet below, traffic – some of it from a wedding just over in Keene Valley — passed up and down the long hill on Route 73 that offers a glimpse of Giant’s Roaring Brook Falls. This account is about what happened that day to the people who had just arrived at an old family camp >>More


June, 2013

Adirondack Loon Researchers Need Money


The Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation got its start more than a decade ago (albeit under a different name) with the mission of monitoring a bird that appeared to be in trouble–from acid rain, mercury contamination, lead sinkers, and other environmental threats. Now it appears the researchers are in trouble. Nina Schoch, coordinator of the center, hopes to raise about $20,000 over the next few weeks to hire field staff to monitor loon nesting on some ninety lakes across the Adirondack Park. She has had monitors in the field for the past eleven summers, but she doesn’t have enough money  >>More


June, 2013

Adirondack Insects: The Millipedes


The occasional bouts of overcast and rainy weather that the Adirondacks have experienced over the past few weeks have led to the proliferation of various forms of invertebrates that thrive in damp settings. Among the arthropods that strongly favor moist conditions is a group of small, dark to nearly black, worm-like organisms that occasionally occur in fair numbers on the foundation of houses, on the side of stone walls, or in a masonry fire pit in front of a lean-to. These are the millipedes, a group of small, yet important, arthropods that play a vital role in our soil ecology. >>More


June, 2013

Sandy Hildreth: The Adirondacks Inspire Art


Living in the Adirondacks is all I need – I’m inspired by the landscape I see and often by the kind and friendly people I interact with as well. This past week I experienced a different kind of inspiration – more like an immense gratitude for this special place on the planet. One hundred artists attended the Publisher’s Invitational Paint Out hosted at Paul Smith’s College. I wrote about my experiences at the 2012 event, because I was inspired then too, but this year’s event merits additional attention. Eric Rhoads, who publishes Plein » Continue Reading. The post Sandy Hildreth: >>More




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