FacebookTwitterInstagram Youtube
Adirondack Explorer

Archive for the ‘Natural History’ Category

June, 2018

What the… Adirondack Turkey Vultures


“Mom, there’s a really big crow in the compost,” my son said one day early this spring, followed closely by, “Wait. What is that bird? It’s huge!” I peeked out the back window to find a bird, huge indeed, a red head atop of cloak of dark feathers, sitting on a corner post of the garden fence, peering into the compost heap. Two others perched behind the garden, high in a tall white pine tree. The red head, naked of feathers, easily gave the birds away as turkey vultures. While we see these vultures often during the warmer months, soaring >>More


June, 2018

McNulty Named Int’l Field Stations Group President


Stacy McNulty has been elected president of the Organization of Biological Field Stations (OBFS), a more than 50-year old international organization that supports research, education and outreach at field stations. SUNY ESF’s Adirondack Ecological Center (AEC) has been a member for about 25 years according to McNulty, who is an ecologist and associate director of the AEC. Prior to becoming president, McNulty served as board secretary, member-at-large and chair of the Human Diversity Committee. Members of OBFS operate field facilities for scientists, students, teachers and the public to pursue understanding of environmental changes and challenges. The practice of place-based observation >>More


June, 2018

Three Sisters Preserve Fisher Caught On Trail Cam


The Lake Placid Land Conservancy (LPLC) has installed trail cams on the Three Sisters Preserve as part of their Citizen Science Monitoring Program. The Preserve includes a rare sandy pine forest habitat and is home to a variety of wildlife, including fishers, one of which was caught on trail cam video April 12th. The Conservancy received a $26,000 grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Land Trust Alliance through the New York State Conservation Partnership Program for improvements to the preserve in Wilmington, including the development of a management plan. LPLC » Continue Reading. View >>More


June, 2018

Intense Eastern Tent Caterpillars


They hang around on finely spun strands of silky string; blue-black caterpillars parachuting ever-so-slowly to earth, landing in yards, crawling around on decks and porches; even finding their way into homes. Over the past few weeks, several people have asked me about them. Some have been coping with large numbers of them. And one person asked if they were the same worms that make their webs in apple trees. They are not. They are similar, though. Both are hairy. Both are dark colored. Both grow from less than one-eighth of an inch to two inches or larger over a six >>More


May, 2018

Motorists: Be Alert for Turtles Crossing Roadways


The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is reminding the public that the state’s native turtles are on the move through June, seeking sandy areas or loose soil to lay their eggs. In New York, thousands of turtles are killed each year when they are struck by vehicles while migrating to nesting areas. New York’s 11 native species of land turtles are in decline, and turtles can take more than 10 years to reach breeding age. The reptiles lay just one small clutch of eggs each year, which means the loss of a breeding female can have a >>More


May, 2018

Appreciating Adirondack Woodchucks


One summer we had an ongoing battle with a woodchuck. Unbeknownst to us, it had dug a burrow in an ideal location — in the center of our dense raspberry patch, about 10 feet from our vegetable garden. The woodchuck then dug a hole under the garden fence and feasted on beans, peas, and other tender vegetables. We filled the hole and placed a large rock over it. The next day the rock had been moved and the hole re-dug. We tried more rocks, then sheets of metal roofing, but every day these barriers were removed. Finally we put a >>More


May, 2018

2018 I Bird NY Birding Challenges Announced


New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced the launch of two birding challenges for 2018 through the State’s I BIRD NY program. I BIRD NY was launched in 2017. New York habitats support more than 450 different bird species. There are also 59 Bird Conservation Areas across the state. DEC is hosting an I BIRD NY Beginners Birding Challenge open to anyone 16 years of age and younger. All participants will receive a completion certificate, an official I BIRD NY bracelet, and be entered to win birding accessories, including binoculars and spotting scopes. To complete the Beginners >>More


May, 2018

Equiptment Failure At Adirondack Hatchery Hits Salmon Stocks


A severe storm Friday, May 4, cut power to the Adirondack Fish Hatchery at Lake Clear, east of Saranac Lake, killing most of the salmon stock. Power lines to the hatchery were downed during the storm according to DEC, causing the facility’s backup generator to activate. When power was restored from the grid, it caused the backup generator to go off-line, and a transfer switch failed. That failure prevented the flow of well water into the raceways, depriving the salmon of oxygenated water. The New York State Conservation Council estimates more than 85% of the salmon that remained in the >>More


May, 2018

Spoonwood: Mountain Laurel


If you were fortunate enough to grow up with freedom to roam outdoors, there are likely certain places that stick with you. For me, one of these places is a thicket of old mountain laurels that my brother and I hiked through on our way to an outcrop we called The Ledge. What I loved about them was how their shreddy, red-brown trunks forked and twisted, like trees in a fairy tale, or in the Haunted Forest on the way to Oz. In early summer, they held delicate pink and white flowers that were sticky to the touch — another >>More


May, 2018

Adirondack Ruffed Grouse In Spring


It is traditional backwoods wisdom to avoid getting between a mother and her babies, and while this advice usually pertains to the black bear, it could also apply to several other forms of wildlife that reside in the Adirondacks. In late spring many infants are emerging from the safety of their den or nest and most mothers try to provide some form of protection from potential danger to their babies. Perhaps the most remarkable display of parental courage for a creature of its size is seen in the hen ruffed grouse. This bird will aggressively confront and challenge any human >>More