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Adirondack Explorer

Archive for the ‘Natural History’ Category

November, 2013

Ed Kanze: Who’s Inside, Who’s Outside?


Everywhere we turn, life manifests itself in an astounding number of forms. At our house, we try to keep track of all that lives and breathes. In this episode of “All Things Natural” we learn about an old-fashioned biological survey project that brings new discoveries almost every day [Listen Here]. The podcast is produced by Mountain Lake PBS. “All Things Natural” has been published continuously since 1987 and approaches its one-millionth published word. It currently appears in the Bedford, NY Record-Review. Listen to past episodes by visiting Mountain Lake PBS’s Borderless North webpage at mountainlake.org/bn. The post Ed Kanze: Who’s >>More


October, 2013

Birds: The Departure of the Northern Flicker


Preparations among the members of our wildlife community have been underway for weeks, if not months, for the arrival of snow and temperatures low enough to freeze the upper layer of soil. Most bugs are genetically programmed to enter a dormant stage of their life in advance of this onset of adverse weather, and the mammals of the area are well along in the process of modifying their physical structure (accumulating fat and growing a thick layer of fur) in order to cope. Many species of birds have either left, or will soon be exiting, our region because of the >>More


October, 2013

Adirondack Amphibians: The Tadpoles of Winter


Fall is in full swing: foggy mornings, cold rains, and falling leaves. Time to talk about…tadpoles!? That’s right, while we may be accustomed to discussing tadpoles in spring and summer, they’re still around and they’re gearing up for winter. Imagine your local pond. Under a slate gray autumn sky, the pond is mostly quiet. Only an occasional peep (called the “fall echo”) escapes from the reeds, where previously an amphibian chorus declared its presence. Yet despite the chill and silence, frog life continues. Most of the summer’s broods hopped onto land at least a month ago. Others will hibernate in >>More


October, 2013

Ed Kanze: Horns and Antlers


Is a horn an antler and an antler a horn? For the low-down on high-level head gear. This week’s edition of All Things Natural with Ed Kanze explores the fine points of horns and antlers. The post Ed Kanze: Horns and Antlers appeared first on The Adirondack Almanack.


October, 2013

First Snow of the Season Falls Across the Adirondacks


The first snow of this winter season has been reported across the Adirondack region. A band of lake effect moisture brought some snow to the higher elevations of the western and southern slopes of the Adirondacks and an Almanack reader on our Facebook page reported that as much as 2.5 inches fell near Old Forge today. Flurries and minor accumulation were reported in the High Peaks, including at Whiteface.  Snow was also reported in Paul Smiths, Lake Placid, Indian Lake, Newcomb, Schroon Lake and into northern Warren County, including Warrensburg and at at Gore Mountain.  At least some flurries were >>More


October, 2013

The Touchy-Feely World of Animal Whiskers


Of the many questions one is left with after listening to the nursery rhyme “Three Blind Mice”, none is more vexing than how three blind rodents were able to chase anything, let alone a farmer’s wife. As the three mice in question died in 1805, we’ll probably never know the full answer. There are some clues in the scientific record, though. The fact is, mice and other nocturnal rodents can take in sophisticated three dimensional information about their surroundings without using their eyes. Rodent eyes don’t function like our eyes. Ours are on the front of our head and we >>More


October, 2013

Adirondack Moose and Winter Ticks


Last week, an article appeared in the Science Section of the New York Times exploring the decline in the moose population in many sections of North America. While several potential causes for this widespread die-off were cited, much attention was given to the role of the winter tick in impacting the health and well being of this large, hoofed mammal. As a rule, ticks are not considered to be a serious problem in the Adirondacks, especially in the more mountainous areas of the Park. However, the thought of a devastating tick infestation developing across our region is unsettling to outdoor >>More


October, 2013

Cabin Life: A Mouse In The Outhouse


Winter is approaching, and rather more quickly than I would really like.  Sure, I’ve got the new stove and a shed chock full of dry hardwood, but I have to admit that I’ve really enjoyed our summer-like fall.  “They” are calling for snow next week, but we’ll see what happens. I had an inkling that this was coming anyway.  Yes, I know that it’s October and that it’s a reasonable assumption to think that we’ll be getting snow soon.  But last Friday, I got home from work and opened the front door.  I let Pico and the cats out to >>More


October, 2013

Growing the Great Pumpkin in Northern New York


In the Peanuts comic strip, the precocious, blanket-toting Linus waited faithfully for The Great Pumpkin all night on Halloween in spite of being disappointed every year. Perhaps his unwavering belief in the mythical pumpkin was spurred on by the fact that almost every year brings the world a bigger “great pumpkin” of the sort one can measure and—at least potentially—eat.Of the approximately 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins grown annually in the U.S., only a very few are grown for size. Primarily within the last thirty years, giant pumpkin enthusiasts (that’s regular-size people, giant produce) have developed varieties that attain jaw-dropping >>More


October, 2013

Wildlife Preparing for Winter: The Garter Snake


Migration is the seasonal movement of an animal population in response to changing environmental conditions. While birds are best known for employing this survival strategy to cope with winter, many other forms of wildlife also engage in some form of relocation during autumn to deal with prolonged bouts of cold and an absence of food. Among the migratory reptiles in the Adirondacks is an abundant and widespread snake familiar to anyone that spends time outdoors – the garter snake. As daylight wanes and the temperatures cool, garter snakes begin to travel to various sites that afford protection from the intense >>More