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Adirondack Explorer

Archive for the ‘Natural History’ Category

May, 2013

Be Careful of Roadside Moose


I don’t usually count the first time I saw a moose because I didn’t know what it was. My previous experience with antlered animals was completely defined by Saturday morning cartoons. The strange animal that crossed the highway in front of my car, looked nothing like the moose I knew, with its easily identifiable antlers. That first experience was cut short due to an impatient driver who chose to pull around me into oncoming traffic, narrowly missing the female moose. At that time I was so concerned with the possibility of a three-car pile-up that I didn’t notice the large >>More


May, 2013

Annual Great Adirondack Birding Celebration Next Weekend


The 11th annual Great Adirondack Birding Celebration is scheduled for next weekend, 31 May – 2 June 2013, at the Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC) in Paul Smiths, New York. The event features field trips to boreal birding hot spots, informative lectures, and workshops. Field trips include: an all-day Birding Across the Adirondacks trip on Friday, plus a selection of half-day field trips on Saturday and Sunday (Birding by Ear at the VIC, Beginner Birder Workshop at the VIC, Bloomingdale Bog, Intervale Lowlands, Little Clear Pond for loons, Madawaska Flow, Spring Pond Bog, and Whiteface Mountain). The keynote >>More


May, 2013

Bug Season: Some Tips For Avoiding Black Flies


Late May and early June is the peak of black fly season in the Adirondacks, and the intensity and aggressiveness of the swarms of these small, dark-colored biting bugs varies greatly from one location to another and from one year to the next. From all indications, this year seems to be one in which there is a definite abundance of black flies in our forests, much to the delight of numerous species of insect eating birds that migrate north to feast on the seasonal abundance of bugs, but much to the dismay of hikers, campers and canoeists that want a >>More


May, 2013

Outside Story: Fabulous Forest Ferns


We all see our forests for the trees, but the woods are alive with other plants. Among the most common are ferns, which don’t just get by in the deep shade of the forest – they flourish. Now, you might be thinking, don’t all those ferns look alike? They form a lovely verdant backdrop to the forest, but they don’t have the showy flowers and distinctive leaves that make other plants so easy to identify. But ferns are surprisingly easy to tell apart. And once you know the names of a few species, they’ll pop out at you as you >>More


May, 2013

Adirondack Insects: Mayflies


As the water warms in streams, rivers and lakes, there is an explosion of invertebrate activity, when the hoards of aquatic bugs that pass much of the year on the bottom are stimulated by the favorable thermal conditions which allow them to continue with their life cycle. Among the insects preparing to leave the safety of some protective nook, or transition into a stage that no longer perfectly matches the surroundings, are the mayflies, an exceptionally prolific and ecologically significant group of aquatic organisms. Mayflies form a category, or order, of insects known as Ephemeroptera, which literally translates into the >>More


May, 2013

Why Do Trees Leaf Out At Different Times?


One of my hobbies this time of year is to try to pinpoint the day that I can say that the leaves are out and spring has arrived. Usually it’s sometime in the second week of May, though it seems to have been inching forward over the past couple of decades. But even when I can declare that it’s “spring,” not every tree is clothed in green. Ash trees, for instance, will still have bare branches weeks from now, and the northern catalpa in my yard will balk at putting out its saucer-sized leaves for another month. Why? The question >>More


May, 2013

Planting Milkweed for Mother’s Day


Mother’s Day doesn’t just have to be about getting a bouquet of flowers and box of candy, though I am a huge supporter of both, it is more about celebrating the mother figure in your life.  It can be as simple as a packet of seeds to start in a windowsill garden or as complex as a family reunion. My kids know that one way to make me happy is for someone to try to bring more native species to our garden. Last year my gift was the relocation of the wild violets to a hill before the contractor ground >>More


May, 2013

Adirondack Birds: Soulful Music of the Hermit Thrush


In the weeks surrounding the emergence of leaves on the shrubs and trees in the Adirondacks a rich variety of sounds, unlike that which is heard during any other time of the year, occurs in our forests. Some participants in this natural symphony bellow out a perky series of melodious notes, like the winter wren and red-eyed vireo, while others such as the robin and white-throated sparrow have a more stately quality to their voice. A few, like the ovenbird and chestnut-sided warbler, contribute an intense and serious refrain to the mix, and then there is the soulful music of >>More


May, 2013

Falls On The Hudson River at Lake Luzerne


It’s spring in the Adirondacks! This is a photo of one of the participants in the ‘Perfect Pictures Every Time’ photo workshop I did during the last weekend of April at the Adirondack Folk School in Lake Luzerne. I saw him move into place  by the cascades, and moved over to place him in front of the falls. Zoomed in to a telephoto focal length and shot with about a 1 second exposure to have a nice motion blur in the water. What a beautiful day it was for a workshop and photography.


April, 2013

Dam History: The Oxbow Reservoir Project


The Raquette River, from Raquette Falls to the State Boat Launch on Tupper Lake, is one of the nicest stretches of flat-water anywhere in the Adirondacks.  Paddling this river corridor under a clear cerulean blue sky, on a sunny autumn day with the riverbanks ablaze in orange and red, is exquisite.  For me, though, the river’s history is as captivating as its natural beauty. Countless people have traveled this section of river over the centuries.  There were native peoples who hunted, fished, and trapped, the hinterlands of Long Lake and further into the Raquette Lake area, long before whites appeared >>More