When I was growing up, my family rented a vacation home on a mountain in southern Vermont. One night we were awakened by our dogs barking. Soon we heard a persistent gnawing on the outside of the house. My Dad went to investigate. His flashlight beam revealed a large porcupine with black, beady eyes. My father scared it away, but it returned other nights. [Read more…] about A Porcupine’s Salt Cravings
In 1976, as the nation prepared to celebrate its 200th birthday, my parents were already a year into the hunt for records of an elusive ancestor: Sanbun Ford, a founder of the town of Milton, in Saratoga County. [Read more…] about Sanbun Ford: An American Revolutionary Rediscovered
One summer we had an ongoing battle with a woodchuck. Unbeknownst to us, it had dug a burrow in an ideal location — in the center of our dense raspberry patch, about 10 feet from our vegetable garden. The woodchuck then dug a hole under the garden fence and feasted on beans, peas, and other tender vegetables.
We filled the hole and placed a large rock over it. The next day the rock had been moved and the hole re-dug. We tried more rocks, then sheets of metal roofing, but every day these barriers were removed. Finally we put a Havahart trap near our garden — and caught a young skunk (which was released, very carefully)! [Read more…] about Appreciating New York’s Woodchucks
On sunny, warm days, house flies hatch and buzz around homes and offices. These flies complete aerobatic stunts that easily evade human efforts at swatting or shooing. That aerial agility, so frustrating to the would-be swatters, is thanks to a pair of highly specialized sense organs called halteres. [Read more…] about Flight Control Science of Flies
Egbert Ludovicus Viele died on April 22nd, 1902 at the age of 77 in the city of New York after an eventful life that began in Waterford, New York.
He was born in 1825, son of Kathlyne Schuyler (Knickerboacker) and State Senator John L. Viele. The title of his newspaper obituary notice “Veteran of Two Wars and Indian Campaigns Passes Away” did little justice to his varied career, nor his personal foibles. [Read more…] about Egbert Ludovicus Viele: Engineer, Soldier, Politician
One spring, following heavy rain, I visited the Saint Michael’s College Natural Area in Vermont hoping to capture exciting photographs of the rushing Winooski River. Rather than raging floodwaters, however, I found the river’s floodplain was efficiently – and slowly – accommodating the onslaught of rainwater. [Read more…] about Rivers, Wetlands and Floodwaters
On April 15th, 1842, Henry A. Vrooman, a forty-one-year-old farmer living in West Charlton, Saratoga County, passed away in his home near the intersection of what is now Eastern Avenue and Sacandaga Road. He was laid to rest in the nearby West Glenville Cemetery. Only eight months earlier he had married forty-year-old Eliza McClelland, a widow with two children from nearby Blue Corners on the western edge of the Town of Charlton. It was a roller-coaster eight months. [Read more…] about The Short Eventful Marriage of Henry and Eliza Vrooman
In 2011, the nonprofit Gotham Whale recorded just five humpbacks spotted off New York City. Since then, the number has soared. By 2018, sightings had jumped to 272. Less than a year later, 377 whales of different species were observed.
A recent Discover Magazine article cites two main factors that drive the increasing presence of whales. [Read more…] about New York’s Whaling Industry: Some History
She is a slender hawk, brown above, with a dark-streaked, buff breast and a long, barred tail. A ring of light-colored feathers surrounds her face, giving her a facial disc similar to that of an owl. [Read more…] about The Northern Harrier: One Unusual Hawk
Few remember when Clifton Park had its own amusement park. It was located on the Mohawk River in Rexford near the Alplaus border from 1906 to 1933. [Read more…] about When Clifton Park Had Its Own Amusement Park