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Adirondack Explorer

Archive for the ‘Natural History’ Category

March, 2019

The Mink: An Outside Story


It was a cold, snowy Sunday morning in the middle of January. I planned to heed the warnings encouraging motorists to stay off the road and turned the radio on to catch the end of an interview with poet Mary Oliver, recorded in 2015. The poet had died earlier that week, at the age of 83. “Listening to the World” was the title of the conversation, ironic on a snowy morning when the earth seemed so quiet. After breakfast, I was gazing out my kitchen window toward the river, looking beyond the woodshed attached to the far side of our >>More


March, 2019

Fireflies of Winter


Like most people, I thought I knew where to find fireflies: in back yards and fields on summer nights, flickering on and off like dollhouse-sized lanterns or like Tinkerbell, the tiny fairy that the author of Peter Pan invented while observing fireflies near a Scottish lake. I was only partly right. There are about 2,000 firefly species, but not all are nocturnal. Nor are they all flashy – some don’t light up at all. Furthermore, we don’t have to wait for summer to see one. Meet Ellychnia corrusca, known as the winter dark, or diurnal, firefly. Although common, this insect >>More


March, 2019

Ornithology: The State Museum’s Bird Collection


The State Museum’s bird collection is always growing as scientists continue to prepare new specimens to document the current New York bird population. Every time a bird specimen is prepared, State Museum scientists take tiny samples of different types of tissues (heart, liver, muscle, brain) and place them in a plastic vial that is stored in an ultra-cold freezer at -80 degrees Celsius (-112 Fahrenheit). These samples, and similar ones taken from newly prepared fish and mammal specimens, comprise their Vertebrate Frozen Tissues collection. It is the » Continue Reading. View original post.


March, 2019

Migratory Bird Ecosystem Disruption Research Published


Using data on 77 North American migratory bird species from the eBird citizen-science program, scientists at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology say that, in as little as four decades, it may be very difficult to predict how climate change will affect migratory bird populations and the ecosystems they inhabit. Their conclusions are presented in a paper published in the journal Ecography. Cornell Lab scientists generated new climate models incorporating multiple sources of data. This produced a timeline indicating when and where migratory bird populations are likely to be significantly affected by novel climates during each phase of their annual life >>More


March, 2019

Eyeshine: Those Glowing Eyes Looking Back At You


I’ve taken to wandering the night lately – one of the pleasures of having a puppy. Willow, my pup, and I walk at all hours, from twilight to midnight and into the shadowy early morning. Some nights we walk under the cover of stars and moonlight, and other nights the world is so dark my black dog disappears and I wonder what exactly is on the end of my leash. Void of visual stimulus, any earthbound glimmer of light is noteworthy. One night I saw the glow of two small eyes, like gold coins caught in the arc of my >>More


February, 2019

Herpetofauna of the Adirondacks Talk in Schenectady


The Kelly Adirondack Center at Union College has announced Herpetofauna of the Adirondacks, a talk with Alvin Breisch, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Fish and Wildlife (retired), set for April 11, 2019, in the Old Chapel on the Union College Campus, 807 Union St, Schenectady. Refreshments will be served at 5 pm, with the lecture beginning at 5:30 pm. This event is free and open to the public. Forty species of amphibians and reptiles, collectively known as herpetofauna or herps, have been reported from the Adirondacks since the explorations by naturalist in the early 1800s. Drawing on results >>More


February, 2019

Roosting Crows: Birds of a Feather


Birds of a feather flock together. It’s a metaphor dating back to the sixteenth century; used even then in alluding to people with similar interests, motivation, loyalties, or like minds. It’s also a straightforward reference to the fact that birds congregate with others of their own species. So, when I’m asked, as I have been recently, about the considerable numbers of crows that people have seen roosting in the village of Malone, I’m inclined to simply answer, ‘birds of a feather…’ Roosting is a period of inactivity for birds; a time of rest and/or sleeping. Almost all birds gather to >>More


February, 2019

Viewpoint: Important Tick Research Needs Support


I’d been living in the North Country for about a month when I woke up to discover a red bulls eye on my left arm. Since, mentally and emotionally, I have never advanced much past the fourth grade, my first thought was: “Cool!” Because it was clearly visible, however, a number of people subsequently pointed out that this, technically, was nothing to celebrate. So I walked around for the next three days looking like the dog from the Target ads, while people dutifully commented on my impending doom. Nothing ever came of it. So far the only discomfort ticks have >>More


February, 2019

A Natural History of Adirondack Flying Squirrels


Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake (ADKX) next 2019 Cabin Fever Sunday Series lecture, Night Moves: Natural History of Adirondack Flying Squirrels with Charlotte Demers, is set for February 24th, at 1:30 pm. Although seldom seen, two species of flying squirrel inhabit that Adirondack Park. Both play an important role in our ecosystem, but the occurrence of one species can be a great detriment to the survival of the other. Demers will focus on these nocturnal critters and the on-going research at the ESF Newcomb Campus that helps scientist understand how climate change may be impacting the health >>More


February, 2019

My First Trout and The Rainmakers


My advice to nine-year-old wanna-be trout anglers is: “Do not wear a sweater.” Repeat: “Do not wear a sweater.” My earliest trout fishing days in and around Bakers Mills in today’s Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area were frustrating because my own fishhook invariably caught mainly my sweater. And we mostly used night crawlers not artificial flies then. Better to wear something less adept at snagging stray hooks. Try thick vinyl, maybe. I was considered too young to carry a knife of my own. To resume fishing once I snagged my own sweater, I had to plead with Cub Schaefer to stop >>More




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