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Adirondack Explorer

Archive for the ‘Natural History’ Category

April, 2018

Watch The Road: Annual Salamander and Frog Migration

Annual breeding migrations of salamanders and frogs are underway. Typically, after the ground starts to thaw in late winter and early spring, species such as spotted salamander and wood frog emerge from underground winter shelters in the forest and walk overland to woodland pools for breeding. This migration usually occurs on rainy nights when the night air temperature is above 40F. When these conditions align there can be explosive “big night” migrations with hundreds of amphibians on the move, many having to cross roads.   Drivers on New York roads are encouraged to proceed with caution or avoid travel on >>More

March, 2018

Happy Birthday to the Wild Center Otters!

It’s time for one last hurrah before The Wild Center goes on its own spring break. Before its annual hiatus, head to Tupper Lake and enjoy everything the Wild Center has to offer, plus cake. Essentially, you can have your cake and eat it too. Well played, Wild Center. Each April, The Wild Center takes a month-long break for some revamping and spring cleaning. The museum will be open Friday and Saturday, March 30-31, for regular business hours. It will be the last chance to see some favorite exhibits before new and exciting things are showcased for the summer opening weekend. >>More

March, 2018

Adirondack Raccoons in Spring

Often, during my forays into the woods behind our house, I wonder who might be occupying the holes carved into tree trunks by time and nature. The barred owls I hear hoo-hoo-hoo-hooing, maybe, or the chittering red squirrels. And, chances are, there are raccoons in some of those hollows, high above the ground. “Raccoons don’t make a den, they just find a place to be during the winter, wherever they can find shelter,” said Dave Erler, a senior naturalist at Squam Lakes Natural Science Center in Holderness, New Hampshire. “Large enough tree hollows, about 20 to 30 feet off the >>More

March, 2018

Arrival of Spring, Phenology and Climate Change

How do you know when spring has begun? Is it the flow of maple sap? The first crocuses coming up through the snow? Ice out on local lakes? The arrival of the first red-winged blackbirds? The clamor of peepers? Apple trees and/or lilacs blooming? Meriam-Webster defines phenology, which is derived from the Greek word ‘phaino’ meaning to show or appear, as ‘a branch of science dealing with the relations between climate and periodic biological phenomena.’ Think of it as a timeline or chronology of periodic natural events; such as when insects hatch or arrive; when flowers and plants » Continue >>More

March, 2018

DEC Staff Sampling for Moose Across the Adirondacks

Moose (Alces alces) are the largest member of the deer family and the largest land mammal in New York State. DEC staff, in collaboration with other groups, are currently conducting aerial distance sampling for moose across the Adirondacks. During this multi-year research project, the team is expected to obtain information on the status of New York State’s moose population, health of the moose, and factors that influence moose survival and reproduction. As part of the study, twelve moose were captured in the Adirondacks in January 2015, fitted with GPS radio collars, and released. Another nine moose were captured » Continue >>More

March, 2018

Watchable Wildlife: Great Horned Owl

Now may be a good time to see great horned owls (Bubo virginianus). They are year-round residents, but start sitting in their nests as early as January or February. Great horned owls are large birds (adults can be 18-25 inches in length) and have large ear tufts on their head and large yellow eyes. Their feathers are usually a mix of colors: white, reddish-brown, gray, and black with a white patch on their throats. Great horned owls can be found throughout New York state in a variety of habitats, such as forests or fields, near cliffs, and even around suburban >>More

March, 2018

Stone Walls: An Iconic Landform Primer

When you think about the iconic landforms of the Northeast, what comes to mind? The mountains, of course. The lakes. Of course. Rivers? Probably. But there’s another. Stone walls. An estimated 100,000 miles of them. They might not be as impressive as the Great Range, Hudson Gorge, or Lake George, but collectively they make a big impact on the landscape and the creatures who live there. Stone walls parse the land into finer pieces, creating diverse microclimates and ecosystems and opportunities for creatures of all types, said Robert M. Thorson, a University of Connecticut geology professor, the founder of the >>More

March, 2018

Avoiding Conflicts With Adirondack Coyotes

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has issued the agency’s annual guidance on preventing conflicts between people and coyotes as spring temperatures approach. With the onset of warmer weather, many of New York’s resident coyotes set up dens for pups that will arrive this spring. Coyotes are well adapted to suburban and even some urban environments, but for the most part they will avoid contact with people. However, conflicts with people and pets may result as coyotes tend to be territorial around den sites during the spring through mid-summer period as they forage almost constantly to provide >>More

March, 2018

iSeeMammals: Black Bear Citizen Science

As I write this at my home, there’s snow on the ground. But spring is almost here. In fact, as I opened the door to leave my house this morning, I was greeted by a sure sign of spring; the patently pungent smell of skunk! And I couldn’t help but wonder if the little stinker, indeed, missed or misted its adversary. It never ceases to amaze me how animals can spend the winter months in hibernation (deep sleep) or torpor (a state of decreased physiological activity during periods of extreme cold; light » Continue Reading. View original post.

March, 2018

Early Birds Returning To Northern Forests

May is bird heaven in our region. All the species that headed south the previous year are back: the flycatchers, vireos and thrushes; the warblers, wrens and swallows; even the ruby-throated hummingbirds and scarlet tanagers are in full force. But May and its riches of bird seems distant in early March – too far into the future to even contemplate. The first day of spring, on the other hand, is just around the corner. And while the Adirondack air may still be frigid and the ground often snow-covered, bird populations are nonetheless on the move. By St. Patrick’s Day or >>More