April, 2010

Upper Washbowl closed

Last week, I posted a list of rock-climbing routes that are closed to protect the postential nesting sites of peregrine falcons. This morning, the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced that it is adding the Upper Washbowl routes to the list. The following is an e-mail sent out by Joe Racette, a DEC wildlife biologist: We have observed peregrine falcons engaged in nesting behavior at the Upper Washbowl cliff at Chapel Pond, and effective immediately are closing all climbing routes on Upper Washbowl Cliffs.  Climbing routes on Lower Washbowl cliff will remain closed until peregrine falcon nesting on Upper Washbowl >>More


March, 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


August, 2009

Pelican postmortem

The brown pelican that excited Adirondack birders for a few weeks has died of starvation, according to Amy Freiman, a wildlife rehabilitator in Newcomb. The pelican was first spotted on Fourth Lake in the Fulton Chain and later on Lows Lake. Observers said it exhibited strange behavior, approaching people in boats and at campsites, apparently looking for food. The photo above is a case in point. Freiman said the bird, though it may have appeared healthy, probably was famished the whole time. She speculates that it may not have been able to fish in our murky waters. Brown pelicans usually fish >>More


August, 2009

Brown pelican in Adirondacks

For the past week, Adirondack birders have been marveling about a brown pelican first spotted on Fourth Lake in the Old Forge-Inlet region. Normally, brown pelicans reside along coasts in more southern climes. They breed as far north as Virginia in summer and live year-round along the Gulf Coast. It’s the state bird of Louisiana. John M.C. Peterson, one of the authors of Adirondack Birding, says this is the first brown pelican seen in this neck of the woods. Peterson keeps records of bird sightings in the Adirondack-Champlain region for the New York State Ornithological Association. As defined by the >>More


July, 2009

A rare sighting

Sometimes it seems like half the people in the Adirondacks have seen a panther. Heck, I thought I saw one myself last year. But a spruce-grouse sighting–now that’s a real rarity. As reported in the Explorer this year, the spruce grouse is one of the most endangered birds in the Adirondack Park (and the state). The birds live in patches of boreal habitat more characteristic of northern Canada than northern New York. Over the past two decades, the number of “birding blocks” in the Park where the bird has been sighted has dropped 26 percent, from twenty-seven to a mere >>More


July, 2009

A favorite paddle

Birdlife and scenery abound on trip from Jones Pond to the Osgood River.