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Adirondack Explorer

Friday, May 14, 2010

Our vanishing bats

Over the past four years, the number of endangered Indiana bats in New York State has plummeted about 50 percent. And that’s the good news. The populations of other bat species in the state have fallen as much as 90 percent. State biologist Al Hicks told the Adirondack Park Agency on Thursday that three species—the little brown, northern, and eastern pipistrelle bats—could be extirpated in the Northeast within a few decades. “Extinctions are not out of the question here,” Hicks said. The bats are dying from white-nose syndrome. The disease’s name comes from the white fungus that appears on the >>More

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Adirondack wildflowers: Dutchman’s breeches

In this age of climate change, it’s nice to know that April showers still bring May flowers. This afternoon, I took my customary jaunt up Baker Mountain and found many wildflowers in bloom,  including spring beauty, trout lily, red trillium, saxifrage, yellow violets, and Dutchman’s breeches. I am always amused by the last flower—both its name the shape that inspired it. They look like tiny pantaloons hung on the line to dry. Dutchman’s breeches bloom in early spring. In Trailside Notes: A Naturalist’s Companion to Adirondack Plants, Ruth Schottman notes that the plant’s fernlike leaves photosynthesize food in the weeks >>More

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Falcons feast on ill bats

A year ago, scientists learned that a large bat hibernaculum exists somewhere near Chapel Pond. They inferred as much when dying bats were discovered flying around Route 73 last March, long before bats usually emerge from hibernation. Peregrine falcons that nest near Chapel Pond also discovered the bats. They returned from their winter habitat early this year, in mid-February, and a state biologist thinks they did so to feed on the sick bats. The bats suffer from white-nose syndrome, which has devastated bat populations through the Northeast. “We observed the falcons foraging on bats both last year and this year,” >>More

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The mountain lion conspiracy

A top-secret confidential source sent me a link to a YouTube clip that offers definitive proof that the government is releasing mountain lions in the Adirondacks. It’s part of a Nazi plot.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Beaver resigns as state mammal

A coalition of environmental groups launched an ad campaign today to protest Governor David Paterson’s proposed $69 million cut to the Environmental Protection Fund, which is used to pay for a variety of green initiatives, including land preservation. The Adirondack Council sent us the ad below, which features a snapping turtle, eastern bluebird, beaver, and brook trout resigning as the state’s reptile, bird, mammal, and fish, respectively. The proposed cut amounts to about a third of the fund.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

DEC debunks cougar rumor

Did you hear they found a dead mountain lion in Black Brook? It was hit by a car. The state Department of Environmental Conservation picked up the carcass and hauled it away the other day. There’s even a photograph to prove it. Naturally, DEC put out a news release denying the whole thing, but what would you expect? Everybody knows DEC is secretly releasing mountain lions in the Adirondacks and then lying about it. You can read all about this mountain lion on the Internet. Some guy took a picture of it on his cell phone. But there is a >>More

Thursday, January 21, 2010

How to scare a bear

State wildlife biologists experimented for years with different methods to keep bears from stealing campers’ food in the High Peaks Wilderness. Finally, the state decided to require all campers in the eastern High Peaks to store food in bear-resistant canisters. This not a problem unique to the Adirondacks. The latest issue of the Journal of Wildlife Management includes a study conducted in California’s Sequoia National Park of the various ways people try to scare away “problem” bears: yelling at them, spraying them with pepper, throwing things at them, shooting them with rubber bullets, etc. “Aversive conditioning was most effective when >>More

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Bob Marshall’s booklet online

Bob Marshall was one of the original Adirondack Forty-Sixers, but he thought he was born too late. He would have preferred to have lived in the nineteenth century, before the Adirondacks were overrun by civilization. Well, Bob is now part of the twenty-first century. John Warren, the guy behind the Adirondack Almanack, reports in his blog that a number of old Adirondack books have been digitized and put online. Among them is Marshall’s 1922 booklet The High Peaks of the Adirondacks. It can be read online or downloaded for free. Marshall wrote the booklet after he and his younger brother, >>More