Sunday, April 30, 2017

Native Plants: All About Wild Leeks

The white bulbs of wild leeks, also called ramps (especially in the south), can be eaten year round, but it’s the early leaves that are most appreciated. In pre-freezer days, ramps were the first greens available after five or so months of potatoes and they were considered important as well as good tasting. Ramp festivals are still held in much of Appalachia to celebrate the arrival of this nutritious fresh food, and these tourist attractions have become so successful that in some places ramps are over-harvested. Wild leeks are spring ephemerals that have no flowers in the spring. I know >>More


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

1890s Adirondack Freshwater Pearl Fever

Balsam pillows, maple syrup, spruce gum, custom-made rustic furniture — they’re all products comprised of raw materials native to the Adirondacks. Other businesses, current or defunct, have similar roots, but occasionally in regional history we find homegrown livelihoods that seem an odd fit for the North Country. Among the unlikeliest of those is pearl harvesting — not in the St. Lawrence River or Lake Champlain, but in creeks and rivers of the Adirondacks and foothills. Pearls, considered the oldest of the world’s gems, are deeply rooted in history dating back thousands of years. They were highly valued in ancient Chinese, >>More


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

North Country Woodpeckers: Signs of Spring

Trees speak many languages, their leaves whooshing in summer and trunks creaking in winter. At the onset of spring, trees become sounding boards for courtship. Before the thrushes and warblers and sparrows arrive to sing from branches and boughs, woodpeckers kick off the spring chorus with a drumroll. Although woodpeckers certainly vocalize, usually with sharp calls or harsh chattering, drumming is one of the most reliable early signs of spring – a proclamation of territoriality and an advertisement to the opposite sex. Drumming is not to be confused with the arrhythmic tapping we hear from woodpeckers (and other cavity nesters >>More


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Beloved Wild Center River Otter Dies

Officials at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake have announced the passing of Remy, one of the natural history museum’s four river otters. Remy, who was eight years old, passed away at The Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Health Center at Cornell University on April 23rd after a brief illness. A necropsy will be performed, with results expected in a few weeks. During his illness, Remy was under the care of Cornell staff. Remy was born in 2009 at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium and came to The Wild Center in 2010. Typically, in the wild, otters live approximately 8-12 >>More


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Emerging Concerns Over Banded Mystery Snails

The warming temperatures and receding ice are giving way to open water and increased recreational activities. It is time once again to think about aquatic invasive species. An emerging threat to our fish populations and bird populations is the Banded Mystery Snail. The Banded Mystery Snail (Viviparus georgianus) a non-native species to the Adirondacks was introduced in 1867 into the Hudson River. It is historically native to Florida and Georgia among other southeastern states. It has been found in many bodies of water located within New York, including Lake Champlain and Lake George. The public, officials and scientists have not >>More


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Adirondack Wildlife: The Belted Kingfisher

Trout Season has opened, but humans, are not the only creatures that prowl the banks of remote streams, or visit the shores of backcountry ponds, in an attempt to snag a small brook trout. Throughout the Adirondacks, there are numerous forms of life that are well adapted for catching fish, and among the most colorful and noisy is the belted kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon). With its large head, long, thick bill, jagged crest, and white band around its neck, the kingfisher provides a silhouette that is easily recognized. However, it is not the unique appearance of this stout bird that initially >>More


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Sights and Sounds of Adirondack Woodcock

Every year around this time, my husband, kids and I haul out the tent blind from our garage and set it up in the field in front of our house. We toss in a few folding chairs, a thermos, maybe a neighbor. At dusk, we take our seats. First come the vocalizations – what are officially called “peents,” but sound more to us like the name Bert repeated in a froggy voice. A male American woodcock materializes – we never see the moment of arrival – and makes his way across the winter-flattened grass. His goal is to impress females >>More


Monday, April 10, 2017

Wood Ducks: Woods And Waters Working Together

Strong and frequent southerly breezes, a disappearing snow pack at low elevations and the presence of large stretches of open water along streams, in the backwater of rivers and in marshes prompt the return of numerous forms of waterfowl to the Adirondacks. When the opportunity arises to reconnect with the area used for breeding, flat-billed, webbed-footed birds take advantage of the favorable conditions and fly north. Included with these returning birds is one of the most colorful and handsome species of waterfowl in North America – the wood duck. Its attractive blend of green, blue, rusty-orange, white and tan plumage >>More


Saturday, April 8, 2017

Update On Lake Placid Maple Sap Tubing Research

The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program has posted the latest research results from NNY Maple Specialist Michael Farrell, director of the Cornell Uihlein Research Forest in Lake Placid, NY. Farrell evaluated the production efficiencies of two sizes of maple sap tubing in gravity-based collection systems. The Evaluating 3/16-inch Maple Sap Tubing Systems Under Natural Flow and Artificial Vacuum Systems in NNY report can be viewed here. Newly-developed 3/16-inch interior diameter tubing has been suggested as a way to achieve greater and easier natural vacuum pressure to draw sap from the taphole in a maple tree. Each additional » Continue >>More


Saturday, April 8, 2017

Missing Lynx Return to New England

In the northern forest, a big gray cat crouches silently in a dense thicket of fir along a snowshoe hare run. Its pointed ears, topped with long tufts of black hair, twitch as it listens intently. The cat’s face is framed by a fur ruff and its yellow-green eyes are alert for movement. Suddenly, the lynx pounces, killing its prey with one quick bite to the neck. As it pads away with the hare, the lynx’s broad furry paws act like snowshoes, supporting it in the deep snow. Its short tail is tipped with black. The Canada lynx, once eliminated >>More


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