The arrival of cooler nights with some valley fog and heavy dew creates favorable conditions for many creatures that require excessive dampness. Among those forms of life that function best in moisture laden surroundings are the slugs, a collection of invertebrates known for their slimy, unappealing appearance, incredibly slow rate of travel, and ability to wreak havoc in gardens. [Read more…] about Slugs: Slimy, Slow, and Esurient
After several days without a significant rain, an observant gardener pulling up clumps of weeds, or a perceptive hiker traveling through a pine forest or a meadow near a stand of conifers may notice a glob of saliva-like fluid attached to a wildflower stalk or the stem of a piece of grass. [Read more…] about New York Insects: The Spittlebug
The waterways of New York State that are a favorite for outdoor enthusiasts during the summer are also highly attractive to many forms of wildlife. While many creatures are often difficult to spot, others are regularly noticed by kayakers, canoeists, power boaters, and individuals simply sitting on a porch overlooking a busy lake, a quiet pond, or a back country river. Among those forms of animal life routinely seen, especially after the July Fourth weekend, are the mergansers, which thrive in most of the larger aquatic settings in New York. [Read more…] about Waterfowl: The Common Merganser
It’s not uncommon to encounter a garter snake as summer weather become the norm. In New York State there are two species of garter snakes, the eastern or common garter snake, and the ribbon snake. Both are approximately a foot and a half to two feet in length and have the same prominent yellow strip running down the entire length of their back from the base of their head. [Read more…] about New York’s Garter Snakes: A Primer
The vast expanses of conifer and mixed forest that exist in the Adirondacks serve as home to numerous forms of wildlife. While many of these creatures are easy to recognize and lead lives that have been well studied by researchers, others are still shrouded in mystery. Among the mammals that are difficult to identify and which have not been well researched is a tiny creature believed to be widespread across the Adirondack Park – the pygmy shrew. [Read more…] about The Small and Seldom Seen Pygmy Shrew
When the hummingbird returns in the spring, this petite creature tends to seek out the same general region that served as its home the previous summer. Older adults are known to claim the same surroundings which they used the past year as their breeding territory. [Read more…] about Feeding Hummingbirds
Over the past several centuries, there have been numerous additions to New York State’s flora and fauna. Invasive Species Awareness Week highlights some of the many forms of life that have invaded the region and are currently wreaking havoc with the established members of the region’s plant and animal communities.
However, not all organisms from outside the area adversely impact the environment like Eurasian milfoil or the zebra mussel. One of the largest transplants to New York’s North Country is the turkey vulture, a bird that occupies a niche for which few other creatures are so well suited. [Read more…] about The Turkey Vulture: A Welcome Invasive Species?
For those people familiar with nature, the uniquely-shaped silhouette of a large bird in flight with a set of thin legs jutting well beyond its tail, and a neck that coils back into a compressed “S” creates an unmistakable image. [Read more…] about The Great Blue Heron
While working around the home this summer, it is not unusual to notice the papery nest of a wasp tucked under the eaves, hidden behind a loose shutter, or placed in some other protected spot. While an encounter with this type of structure may temporarily disrupt a painting project or repair work, such a sanctuary is vital to the summer success of these familiar yellow and black insects, and should be left alone if at all possible as wasps play a role in helping to control the populations of numerous insects, spiders and other bugs. [Read more…] about New York Insects: Paper Wasps
Shortly before apple blossoms open and honeysuckle flowers emerge from their buds, queen bumble bees awaken from their winter dormancy and begin the chore of establishing the small colony over which they will reign throughout the coming growing season. [Read more…] about The Hardy Bumble Bee