Monday, November 16, 2009
This is Leo:
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Are you familiar with the No Child Left Inside legislation in New York?
Many environmental educators, teachers, and outdoor enthusiasts are discussing a legislation that should be implemented into schools to get students connected to nature.
On Saturday, 14 November, 9:30am-12noon, like-minded educators and general public will gather at the Paul Smiths Visitor Interpretive Center in Paul Smiths, NY to discuss the growing issue of environmental literacy.
So come and be an active participant in the development of a state-wide Environmental Literacy plan that will be innovative and bring new ideas to the current education system.
Contact Milt Adams
Environmental Educator-Paul Smiths Visitor Interpretive Center
for more details
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Walking along the "new" trail known as Henry's Woods Trail off Bear Cub Rd in Lake Placid, I felt somewhat a kin to another Henry...Henry D. Thoreau. Not 10 minutes away from the bustling village of Lake Placid is a wonderful 2.5 mile trail(looped) that cuts through the typical "beech, birch, maple forest" of this region. Careful observation will also find black cherry, hemlock, fir, red spruce, and plenty of white pine growing among this forest family.
After walking it in the rain one day earlier this spring I could not quite get the superficial inventory that I found myself taking today as I walked in the mid-autumn silence. What first struck me was the number of different mosses I could find growing along the trail and on the nearby tree trunks and logs. Then the fern species, though not too numerous, could prove fun to watch unfurling in the spring. As a dominant beech, birch, maple forest this area should provide some great spring wildflower watching come May/June. I believe found a healthy population of an endangered plant species along the trail.
I can also envision a few species of salamanders slowly working their way around the forest floor. With a frequently crossed stream(probably ephemeral) I will hope to find a few Northern two-lined salamanders on a springtime walk.
As is usually the case with me, it's the birds that draw most of my attention. Judging by the diversity of tree species and a full, healthy looking canopy, my guess is this will be a good place to bird for spring migrants. I found 2 pileated woodpeckers exploring a dead maple about midway through the 2.5 mile loop.
As fall flows into winter up here I look forward to many ski runs along this trail and I'll bet the animal tracking along Henry' trail will be exciting.
So to all the visionaries, designers, and laborers that brought this trail into being....I thank you. I can see many of our natural history buffs will enjoy this wander through a really nice Adirondack forest, near home.
For a bit more info on the trail and it's short history check out this link:
Friday, October 23, 2009
Go to this website: http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/57844.html
and click on the "launch NY Nature Explorer" and it will give you clear instructions on how to use it. This is great for any biodiversity research being done out there.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
AFN will be holding a field trip to Point au Roche State Park:
and other birding hotspots in northeast Clinton County, this coming Sunday, 25 Oct. Meeting spot/time is 9AM at Northway(Rt 87)- Exit 40 off ramp(in gas station parking lot, just east on Spellman Rd)
Bring food, bino's, dress appropriately. Plan for 5-6 hours. Carpool if you can!
Saturday, October 10, 2009
The "starburst" or "donut" of blue and green colors surrounding the radar sites are typical of birds, as opposed to weather. To confirm that these are birds, one can click on the radar image to obtain a velocity image as seen here:and here:
Things are moving from the N and NW (represented by the blues and greens - objects approaching the radar) to the S and SE (represented by yellows and oranges - objects moving away from the radar). This is the expected direction of migrants on a night with calm or northerly winds at this time of year. (Also, the colors on the radar images only appeared after dark, when most birds are migrating.) Therefore, we can conclude that the colors appearing on the radar are mostly, if not all, birds. Step outside in an otherwise quiet area on a night such as tonight and you will surely hear birds passing overhead. See Brian McAllister's August 21 post on the subject of identifying nocturnal migrants by their flight calls :http://adknature.blogspot.com/2009/08/new-way-to-birdwatchor-listen.html.
For more detailed primers on birds and radar see Derek Lovitch's blog at http://maineoutdoorjournal.mainetoday.com/blogentry.html?id=7065, David La Puma's Woodcreeper site at http://www.woodcreeper.com/ (and especially http://www.woodcreeper.com/2008/08/28/birds-on-the-move-over-nj/), and this Clemson University site: http://virtual.clemson.edu/groups/birdrad/COM4A.HTM.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Here is the Oct/Nov calendar of AFN events:
Sunday, 25 Oct. Chazy Riverlands and Northeastern Clinton County....for hawks, waterfowl, and whatever else flies by! Meet 9AM @ gas station parking lot on Spellman Rd(east) 50 yards on right after exiting at Exit 40. Plan 5-6 hours
Monday, 2 Nov Full Moon Owl Walk at Paul Smiths VIC- Meet in PS VIC parking lot @ 7:30PM. Dress warmly. Plan 1-2 hours.
Saturday, 14 Nov "Magic Triangle" and Champlain Valley....for hawks, winter finches??, waterfowl, gulls, and more. Meet at the Westport Boat Launch parking lot @ 9AM. Plan on 4-5 hours
Also....the snow geese have begun their southward migrations and can be found around the Lake Champlain Valley at several dependable spots: Point au Roche State Park, in northeast Clinton County, and Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area, over in West Addison, Addison County, Vermont. Check these areas out during Oct and into Nov!
We're also entering into the time when golden eagles begin their migration south from their breeding grounds in northeastern Canada. Look for a large, dark raptor that may have a black band on its tail and two large white spots on the undersides of their outstretched wings, and golden nape (these are immature goldens). Adults overall will look very dark with a lighter brown (or golden) coloring on the back of the head (nape). This bird flies with a slight "v" shape in their wings...similar to a turkey vulture.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Adk Field Naturalist(AFN) will be going to Upper/Lower Lakes Wildlife Management Area (WMA):
this coming Sunday, 4 Oct. We will meet at Indian Creek Nature Center in Canton @ 9AM. From there we will explore the WMA trails, and wetlands. Bring food, field guides, bino's, and sturdy walking shoes.
If you are interested in joining AFN(free and open to the public)...please drop an email to Brian (firstname.lastname@example.org)
"Adirondack Field Naturalists"
Purpose 1: To promote the investigation, education,
and appreciation of the natural world that lies within
the Adirondack Region of Upstate New York.
Purpose 2: Through planned field trips, workshops, and
lectures, supporting members can study all aspects of
the natural heritage of the Adirondack Region as well
as promote the conservation of these wild areas.
AFN workshops/field trips focus on many aspects of natural history field studies within the Adirondack region.
Monday, September 28, 2009
This is a great lecture series but on by the Fisheries and Wildlife Dept. at Paul Smiths College.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Here's a fact-filled website to start you off on your search of our little spot in the Universe:
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
For instance, one day last year I discovered Smaller Purple Fringed Orchids (Habenaria psycodes) blooming in the ditch next to the rescue squad. This year they were back.
This summer a friend told me to keep watch for Spiranthes , another orchid, in the same location, for they both like similar conditions. And lo! and behold, there they were: Nodding Ladies' Tresses (Spiranthes cernua).
I decided to see what else might be blooming there, and was shocked and surprised to find a lone White Turtlehead (Chelone glabra).
A small dragonfly (a White-faced Meadowhawk, Sympetrum obtrusum) flitted about as well, keeping me company and graciously posing for a picture.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Our home in Lake Placid has hosted a summer colony of Little Brown Bats for many years and as recently as three summers ago we counted over 200 bats leaving their roosts (under the eaves and in two bat houses) in the late evening. This summer we have not seen more then 2 bats emerge, a 99% decline similar to that reported by Al for the graphite mine hibernaculum. (Anyone who has data on the numbers of bats roosting in their home or other buildings is urged to report their data to the US Fish & Wildlife Service's office in Concord, NH.)
The most likely culprit appears to be a white fungus, recently described and aptly named Geomyces destructans, which appears on the nose, ears, and wing and tail membranes of infected bats. The fungus causes swelling and scaring and may cause the bats to arouse prematurely (and fatally) from hibernation and attempt to forage for food long before food is available and in freezing temperatures to which bats are not adapted. There is speculation that the fungus was brought here from Europe where bats infected with the same or a similar fungus exist in much lower numbers and density compared to bats in North America.
After its initial detection in the Albany area just three years ago, white-nose syndrome has appeared in bats from Maine to southwestern Virginia. Bats routinely travel long distances and there appears to be no way to stop or even slow the spread of this bat-killing pathogen, although scientists are desperately trying to do so. Bats play critical ecological roles in insect control, plant pollination, and seed dissemination. The potential catastrophic decline of North American bat populations would have serious ecological consequences, and the possible loss of entire species would be irreparable.
For an exerpt of Brian Mann's interview with Al Hicks, part of NCPR's continuing coverage of this unfolding tragedy, see http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/story/14178/story-2-0-lake-george-bat-cave-nearly-depopulated-by-apos-white-nose-syndrome-apos. Also see The US Fish and Wildlife Service white-nose syndrome web site at http://www.fws.gov/northeast/white_nose.html.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Today, under the parting of heavy clouds that revealed a few hints of blue sky, the Adirondack Field Naturalists group met for a perfectly sublime paddling trip along Hoel Pond and on to the connecting ponds known as Turtle and Slang. From a near placid Hoel Pond we observed a common loon with young. As we entered into Turtle Pond the echoing of another pair of common loon calling out a warning seemed to bounce off the towering white pines. We regrouped and began a "botany paddle" along the pond's shoreline. Species such as Pitcher pant, sundew, marsh skullcap, pipewort, a couple species of bur-reed(Sparganium), Northern bugleweed(Lycopus uniflorus), and several other aquatic plants grab our attention as we lazily paddled along.
This Purple bladderwort (Utricularia purpurea) caught my eye just before we entered into the the shallow channel that connects us into Slang Pond:
After a quick nibble of food one of the crew spots a Double-crested cormorant(immature) hanging out on the shore...watching the canoe traffic go by.
With a cooling breeze blowing down from the north and darkening skies we reverse our course and head back to the cars. But right, you guessed it...the rain caught us in mid-paddle. Fortunately we could rest and find shelter inside the concrete "tunnel" spillway that connects Hoel Pond to Turtle Pond. After a few minutes wait we venture back out and the gods shine down on us and temporarily clear the skies.
8 participants...still drying out...all are now recounting the few great hours we spent together birding, botanizing, dodging the rain, and learning more about what's out in these Adirondack wilds.
Friday, August 21, 2009
So, with the advent of field guides we turned our attention to the finer points of bird identification. Focusing on wingbars, eyelines, eye rings, belly bands,...etc. Many decades later we turn to the computer for assistance. Now with technology at an all-time high we look and listen heavenward....at night!
Across North America (and our glorious Adirondacks) birders this fall are training(and straining!) their ears to pick out the softest and highest of bird call notes that are given while birds are in full migration flying overhead...somewhere around 11PM to the early morning hours (4-6AM) the next day. Yes..correct...many birds migrate south at night(less bad weather, no predators to eat them, and hopefully good north winds to push them southward). We listen for "zips", "tsips", and "seets"!
I recently found a chat group:
that discusses the finer details of Nocturnal Flight Calls. They've taken birding to another whole different level of bird identification. Many will listen and call out bird names based on these flight calls(warblers, sparrows, finches,...etc), because they all give out a different sound. Some "nocturnalists" even have recording equipment that is pointed directly skyward to pick up the flight calls and then they analyze the calls on computers to identify the species...amazing!
Here in our Adirondack backyards we can hear the same calls. Just before bedtime head outside some clear, cool night or for the early risers...crack-o-dawn, and listen for those gentle buzzes, seeps, and tsips. No doubt you'll be hearing thrushes, warblers, sparrows, sandpipers...and the occasional snore from the neighbors, all winging their way south through the clear star-filled autumnal sky....except your neighbor.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
What has six legs, a blue body with a yellow band, and likes to climb Adirondack slides?
I don't know either.
Susan Bibeau took the photo of the insect on the right while climbing the slide on Kilburn Mountain in the Sentinel Range a few weeks ago. Ever since, we've been wondering what it is.
Anybody have any ideas?
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
The human calendar recently turned over to one last month of summer but the "calendar" that most birds follow is telling them something different. Although our Adirondack summer has been soggy at best we're now enjoying a warmer and drier August. The birds filtering through the Adirondack woodlands these days are sensing another need. Last night I heard a distant series of call notes from a shorebird(sandpiper-like birds) and many warblers passing overhead on a southward journey.
It's migration time for birds.
There are stirrings, feelings of necessity in the bird world. After a recent gentle rain I found the feeding activity had cranked up a notch in the surrounding trees where I live. Young birds are practicing their feeding skills on whatever caterpillar, moth, or spider they can find on the leaves. The adult birds are fending for themselves. This morning the bustling birds are still in a feeding frenzy.
All this to fatten-up!
The summer birds of the Adirondacks are just that...summer residents breeding in our forests, wetlands, and fields. Our plans to escape a winter involve the dependence on technology and money. Birds require the physical abilities that they've mastered for million of years....flight. But to fuel this flight fat is important. So over the next two months keep an eye out for the feverishly feeding warblers, sparrows, finches, and all the other migratory birds that are passing through the Adirondacks on the first stage of their "migratory tour de force".