A warm southerly breeze in mid-March brings with it loose, granular conditions on the ski slopes, a layer of mud on dirt roads, and the return of the first seasonal avian residents – among these are the red-winged blackbirds. [Read more…] about The Return of the Red-Winged Blackbird
Most New Yorkers agree that one of the best aspects of winter is the total absence of pesky, flying bugs outside. Freezing temperatures and an extraordinarily dry atmosphere that would desiccate any fragile-bodied organism combine to prevent such smaller forms of life from becoming active during this harsh season in our northern climate.
Occasionally, a spider, housefly, or lady bug may be noticed throughout the winter, especially in a kitchen or a room with a large window that faces the early afternoon sun. Much to the surprise of most individuals, another bug that may be encountered while in a warm, indoor location this season is the female anopheles mosquito. [Read more…] about Mosquitos in Winter?
Early March is the time of the year when the snow pack in Northern New York typically reaches its greatest depth. Yet, this period produces some of the most favorable conditions for the varying hare, also known as the snowshoe rabbit, a common denizen of our dense conifer forests. [Read more…] about The Snowshoe Hare in Early March
During winter, the possibility exists that a transient flock of birds may suddenly appear at a feeder and dominate the local seed supply for several weeks before exiting the area. The presence of a mob of gluttonous evening grosbeaks, redpolls or purple finches can quickly decimate a mass of sunflower seeds, leaving little for the regulars like chickadees, nuthatches, and an occasional blue jay or cardinal. [Read more…] about The Pine Siskin in Winter
While most natural winter sounds tend to carry only short distances, there is one that is loud enough to travel well over a hundred yards.
Even when the limbs and boughs are coated with an audio-absorbing layer of snow, the voice of the pileated woodpecker periodically breaks the silence and resounds through our mature woodlands. [Read more…] about Pileated Woodpeckers: Denizens Of Our Old Forests
Most of the invertebrates that populate this climatic zone are well suited to deal with sudden thaws in winter by experiencing a type of dormancy known as diapause.
In summer, when temperatures are ideal and there is an abundance of food, the countless species of bugs continually eat and then reproduce. But as environmental conditions begin to change, most species prepare for that time when food eventually vanishes and when temperatures cause the transition of water into ice. [Read more…] about Diapause: How Insects Survive A Winter Thaw
With plenty of snow on the ground and a full moon on Saturday, this weekend promises to be one of those occasions when enough natural light will exist to venture outside and explore the nocturnal side of nature.
Taking a night time stroll can be quite exciting, especially during the latter part of February, as this is the time of year when the yelps and howls of the coyote, that signals the onset of its mating season, can often be heard. Likewise, both the red and gray fox will soon be entering their breeding periods, and their vocalizations may also break the stillness of the night.
With its long legs, the white-tail deer has the ability to travel through a snow bound forest when there is up to 12 to 16 inches on the ground. As the snow pack becomes denser, crusted, or deeper, the mobility of this hoofed creature becomes greatly restricted. [Read more…] about Deep Snow And White-Tail Deer Mortality
Throughout the autumn, when the water around its primary lodge remains open, the beaver (Castor canadensis) scours the shore near and far in search of those select woody plants on which it relies for food. These items are severed at their base and floated to the area just outside the main entrance to the family’s winter shelter and then pushed underwater as deep as possible.
Like many rodents, the beaver assembles a sizeable cache of food for use in winter when travel conditions become limited. Additionally, this rather rotund mammal develops deposits of fat that help to insulate it against the cold and can be used to fuel its internal energy needs. [Read more…] about Inside A Beaver Lodge in Winter
Among these hardy invertebrates, and the ones that are quite conspicuous to anyone that spends time working in the yard, garden or on the wood pile, are the harvestmen, known to most as the daddy-longlegs. [Read more…] about Daddy Longlegs During Winter