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Adirondack Explorer

Archive for the ‘Natural History’ Category

July, 2017

Finding New Ways To Avoid Adirondack Roadkill


Many of us are familiar with the guilt of hitting an animal while driving. The way that its body weight seems to travel through the frame of the car is difficult to forget. But the fact remains that we have places to be and even a few well-intentioned road signs cannot slow us down. In our ceaseless efforts to connect our world, we don’t always consider the ways that our road network has fragmented the animal habitats it paves over. The unpleasant task of shoveling the battered carrion from our roadways falls to local highway departments. But what exactly happens >>More


July, 2017

New Record Established For New York’s Breeding Bald Eagles


Bald eagles are being seen in historic numbers across New York and the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has reported the highest number of nesting pairs, an estimated 323 breeding pairs, since the agency undertook a restoration effort in 1976. Exact estimates will be determined over the course of the breeding season as biologists compile ground reports and surveys. A record number of 53 new nesting territories were verified in 2016, increasing the total number of breeding territories in New York State to 442. Nesting territories are areas known to be occupied by bald eagles and are the locations included in >>More


July, 2017

Survey Evaluates Health of Northern New York Bees


The results of a survey, believed to be the first of its kind, to identify the health of Northern New York bees, as well as the presence of key parasites and pathogens in regional bee colonies have been posted. The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program provided a small grant for a survey of Northern New York bee colonies to contribute to regional knowledge and educate regional beekeepers on practices to better maintain the health of their bees and their businesses. The data on » Continue Reading. View original post.


July, 2017

Adirondack Fisheries: The Redbelly Dace


Summer is the season for being on the water in the Adirondacks, and a canoe or kayak is the perfect way to explore the many ponds, slow-moving rivers and marshes that exist throughout the Park. While these shallow, muddy-bottomed settings may not be great for swimming, the rusty-tan water occasionally covered with patches of floating leaves and strands of submerged vegetation does teem with life. Among the residents of these quiet, weedy waterways is the redbelly dace (Phoxinus eos), a common and widespread member of the minnow family of fish. The redbelly dace is a small fish, averaging only two >>More


July, 2017

A Call For Citizen Scientists To Remove Asian Clams In Sandy Bay


Last year, 475 Asian clams — a small clam, less than 1.5 inches in size, that can spread rapidly — were removed from Lake George, thanks to a half day of work from about 20 volunteers as part of the Lake George Association’s Asian Clam Citizen Science Day in Sandy Bay. The association hopes for a similar result this year from 10 am to 1 pm Monday July 10 when it holds its second Asian Clam Citizen Science Day as part of New York’s Invasive Species Awareness Week July 9 through 15. Volunteers » Continue Reading. View original post.


July, 2017

Unintended Consequences: North Country Starlings


It’s the classic story of unintended consequences. In 1890, Eugene Schieffelin released 60 starlings in New York’s Central Park with the hope of establishing a breeding population. Just in case the experiment wasn’t successful, he released another 40 the next year. Schieffelin was a big Shakespeare fan and he wanted to bring to the New World all the European birds mentioned in The Bard’s plays. Starlings appear in Henry IV, Part 1, in case you are wondering. Schieffelin was also a member of the American Acclimatization Society, a group that advocated shifting species around the globe. It apparently seemed like >>More


July, 2017

Adirondack Butterflies: The White Admiral


Forest clearings in the Adirondacks are especially attractive settings for many forms of wildlife. The warmth of the ground when the sun is shining is particularly inviting to cold-blooded creatures, and the stands of trees that surround these openings in the canopy serve as a source of food and shelter. Clearings created during logging operations, wide sections along secondary roads, and the open space that typically exists around lean-tos and campsites are places frequented by numerous animals. Among the creatures easily observed during the coming month in these sunny oases of our deciduous and mixed woodlands is a strikingly attractive, >>More


July, 2017

Adirondack Wintergreen


I give a lot of tours at my 80-acre homestead, and have found that most visitors are delighted for the opportunity to connect nature with real life. Those of us who spend much time rubbing elbows with nature might say that it is real life, but for many people the connection is a serendipitous anomaly. “Remember teaberry gum?” I like to ask as we walk along a wide, sunny woods path. “That stuff that used to be around when we were kids, in the red package?” They always nod, even the people who are probably too young to have ever >>More


July, 2017

Do Your Part For Pollinators


Pollinator Week may be over, but efforts continue to educate on the global and regional importance of pollinators and to show people what they can do to help. Events will be going on throughout the summer to educate the public, including lectures by Dr. Christina Grozinger, Director of Penn State University’s Center for Pollinator Research, July 19 at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake and July 20 at View Arts in Old Forge; showings of the film “More Than Honey” about why bees are facing extinction; gardening and beekeeping workshops and opportunities for learning to identify and monitor pollinators. See >>More


June, 2017

The Anatomy of Bird Feet


As spring’s crescendo of birdsong mellows now to a steadier summer trill, I listen for melodies I don’t recognize and try to figure out which birds are singing. I look through binoculars at their feathers, the color variations along head and chest, the size of their beaks, the shape of their wings, and the tilt of their tails in my flailing attempts to distinguish one species from another. Rarely have I considered feet in my casual observations, although this part of a bird’s anatomy can be highly specialized for various uses. “When you look at the foot of a bird, >>More