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Adirondack Explorer

Archive for the ‘Natural History’ Category

December, 2018

Caring For Houseplants During Adirondack Winters


In winter, when we spend most of our time indoors, houseplants can add beauty, color, warmth, and contrast to living spaces. Several scientific studies indicate that they improve indoor air quality, too. Successful houseplant horticulture doesn’t have to be difficult. You need to start with plants that are healthy and free of pests. And you need to understand how indoor environments affect plant growth. Even healthy plants may not survive (and certainly won’t thrive), unless they’re given the amounts of humidity, light, water, and fertilizer that they require. Most houseplants will grow adequately at temperatures of 65°-75°F (18°-24°C). Cooler nighttime >>More


November, 2018

Hunting Camp Talk: Moon Phase and the Deer Rut


Deer hunters, like professional athletes, are always looking for an edge – it’s the nature of the pursuit. And so we’re susceptible to superstition, alluring gadgets, marketing campaigns. A classic genre that combines all three of those elements is the moon table – a chart that tells you when the best hunting days are based on the moon phase. These charts were a sporting magazine staple in the early days. In the print world they have largely gone the way of the Marlboro Man, but you can now buy an app which uses the moon to tell you when to >>More


November, 2018

Wildlife Artists On Exhibition In Old Forge


View Arts Center in Old Forge is set to host an opening reception for its newest exhibition, All Creatures Great and Small: Three Masters Three Mediums, on Friday November 30th from 5 to 7 pm. The exhibition features Allen Blagden, Al Jordan, and Larry Master. This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments and food will be served, including a Pad Thai vegetable and chicken station with Great Pines’ chef David Haick. There will also be live wood carving in the courtyard by John Fillman of The Beaver Lodge. Often compared to Winslow Homer and Andrew Wyeth, Allen >>More


November, 2018

Wild Turkeys Facing An Uncertain Future


The wild turkey, Meleagris gallopavo, is one of only two domesticated birds native to North America. The Muscovy duck is the other. Five sub-species make up the entire North American population. The most abundant is the eastern wild turkey, sub-species silvestris, meaning forest, which ranges across the entire eastern half of the United States and parts of eastern Canada. They’re readily identified by their brown-tipped tail feathers, which spread into a fan when the birds are courting or alarmed and by the bold black and white bar pattern displayed on their wing feathers. This is the same turkey variety » >>More


November, 2018

Flight of the Flunker Moth


In early November, I flicked on the porch light and took out the trash. In the brief time it took, a couple of late-season moths found their way to my porch light, and as I slipped through the back door, one of them joined me inside. I cupped my uninvited guest under a drinking glass and took him out for liberation; and “him” turned out to be correct. Before the release, I couldn’t resist a closer look. It was unmistakable: a “flunker moth.” But don’t expend energy on a Google search; it will come up empty because the term is >>More


November, 2018

Happy As A Clam: Anthropomorphizing Animals


Happiness may be elusive, but it sure has spawned a lot of aphorisms. Folk-wisdom indicates one can be happy as a pig in poop — or in mud, which makes me wonder if those two hogs are equally content, and if they had other options. It also suggests you can be pleased as a pig in a peach orchard, which would make sense unless harvest season was over. Additionally, one might feel happy as a pup with two tails, a monkey with a peanut machine, or a clam at high tide. With such a menagerie of animal comparisons, it seems >>More


November, 2018

Boxelder and its Namesake Bugs


Comedian Rodney Dangerfield’s shtick was the phrase, “I don’t get no respect,” always followed by one of his great self-deprecatory one-liners. If Rodney Dangerfield were a tree, he might be Acer negundo – the boxelder, which also gets no respect. When boxelder isn’t being ignored, it’s being disparaged, dismissed, or damned with faint praise. Boxelder, also known as ash-leaved maple, can be a fairly big tree: it can grow 50 to 75 feet tall and more than two feet in diameter, though it often has multiple trunks. “It has the greatest range of any North American maple,” said Kevin Smith, >>More


November, 2018

Master Gardener Training Planned For Warren County


Application are now being accepted for the Warren County Master Gardener training program that will begin in January 2019. The program is open to anyone who has an interest in expanding their gardening experience and knowledge. Attendees can learn how to improve their own gardens and landscapes. Learn scientifically-based gardening information in a relaxed atmosphere. Share information with fellow-Master Gardeners during the training, and following the training, by participating in community-based horticultural programs, educational projects and helping people in the community with their gardening questions. The Master Gardener training program is packed with information provided by the many scientists, educators, >>More


November, 2018

Study: Widely Used Repellent Lethal For Salamanders


Insect repellents containing picaridin can be lethal to salamanders. So reports a new study published in Biology Letters that investigated how exposure to two common insect repellents influenced the survival of aquatic salamander and mosquito larvae. Insect repellents are a defense against mosquito bites and mosquito-borne diseases like dengue, chikungunya, Zika, and West Nile virus. Salamanders provide natural mosquito control. During their aquatic juvenile phase, they forage on mosquito larvae, keeping populations of these nuisance insects in check. The paper is the first to suggest that environmentally realistic concentrations of picaridin-containing repellents in surface waters may increase the abundance of >>More


October, 2018

Tiny Owls Are On The Move


Every autumn, when the air tastes of apples and leaves crunch underfoot, my thoughts turn to tiny owls – northern saw-whet owls (Aegolius acadicus) to be exact. Just eight inches in length with a round head and bright yellow eyes, the saw-whet is arguably New England’s most endearing owl. Deer mice, I suspect, would beg to differ. Saw-whets are small, secretive, nocturnal, and very often silent. As a result, until relatively recently, their migration patterns were poorly understood. Project Owlnet, a network of researchers spanning much of North America with a particular concentration in the northeastern U.S., is changing that. >>More