Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Henry's Woods in Lake Placid

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

NY DEC adds "New York Nature Explorer" to web

Our New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation has put together a wonderful online tool that can help you as you research the natural world of NY. Based on the many completed "Atlas" projects(Birds, Herps, Flora), this tool can help you find flora and fauna in: your town, county, natural area, as well as find natural communities, and also look up specific species.
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

Adirondack Field Naturalist trip reminder

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

Millions of Birds on the Move!

Thanks to clear skies and calm or very slight WNW winds, there is a massive southerly movement of birds tonight in the Adirondacks, and indeed throughout much of the eastern half of the country. The image below shows the U.S. Radar Mosaic (from http://radar.weather.gov/Conus/full_loop.php) at 8:38 this evening. Here are close-ups the the radar loops out of Colchester, Vermont from http://www.rap.ucar.edu/weather/radar/displayRad.php?icao=KCXX&prod=bref1&bkgr=black&endDate=20091011&endTime=-1&duration=0 and Ft. Drum, NY from http://www.rap.ucar.edu/weather/radar/displayRad.php?icao=KTYX&prod=bref1&bkgr=black&endDate=20091011&endTime=-1&duration=0.
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

Adirondack Field Naturalist Oct/Nov calendar

American kestral

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.