When hiking in the backcountry, we should always set out with the goal of minimizing the impact of our travels. When hiking, skiing, or approaching a climb, this means aiming to travel on the most durable surface available. [Read more…] about What’s A Durable Hiking Surface in the Backcountry?
Many songbirds are nesting earlier in spring because of warmer temperatures brought about by climate change. But the shift brings another danger that is especially deadly for nestlings: greater exposure to temperature variability in the form of cold snaps and heat waves. [Read more…] about Study: Temperature Changes Reduce Bird Nesting Success
During the spring and summer months, many species of snakes move from overwintering sites in search of open areas where they can do essential activities, like eating and digesting food, shedding, basking, and reproducing. Many sites happen to be on land that people inhabit. Often, snakes are found in un-mowed lawns, gardens, rock walls, landscape features, woodpiles, construction debris or scrap piles, old buildings, and docks, as well as in more natural areas like rock ledges, fallen trees, and various wetland types. [Read more…] about What Kind of Snake is That?
Here come real stars to fill the upper skies, / And here on earth come emulating flies, / That though they never equal stars in size, / (And they were never really stars at heart) / Achieve at times a very star-like start… —Robert Frost, “Fireflies in the Garden”
It happens on a warm June evening: in the darkening field near my house, I notice a brief flicker of light. Then another. And another. It’s the opening act of firefly season – a nightly light show, courtesy of a family of ½-inch-long insects. As fleeting as it is spectacular, firefly season lasts only a few weeks, during which the newly emerged adults mate and lay eggs. [Read more…] about It’s Firefly Season: Increasingly Rare Lightning Bugs
Rolling into the summer months, the Adirondack High Peaks Wilderness experiences a sharp expansion of its wildlife community.
Insects adapted for survival in an often cool, high-elevation environment emerge from their long winter dormancy and are engaged in eating and breeding. Various species of birds have traveled to upper elevation slopes to mate and nest, and numerous mammals that reside in this harsh climatic zone are now busy rearing infants which can temporarily double their populations. [Read more…] about The American Marten in the Adirondacks
Hear ye, hear ye! The queens have emerged! We’re talking about bumble bees (genus Bombus). For several weeks each spring, any bumble bee you see is a queen – and very hard at work. She must construct her kingdom. [Read more…] about Bumble Bee Queens Are Hard At Work
After many months (five-plus where I live) of winter whiteness, it’s a relief to watch the snow melt at last. We’re always grateful, even though the loss of snow cover gives way to a mostly brown world: brown grass, sand everywhere – even brown pine needles along the roads.
Not to mention the leaves, trash, or dog poop that was mercifully hidden under the snow. Those few sepia-toned weeks after the white stuff disappears and before trees and grass wake up can be visually bleak. [Read more…] about Coltsfoot: Eye Candy, Cough Syrup, and Early Flowers
Have you been outside at dusk lately near an open field or scrub brush area and been startled by a loud PEENT sound followed by twittering sound? What you’re likely hearing is a courtship display of a male American woodcock trying to attract a mate. [Read more…] about What’s That Sound? American Woodcock
Each year during spring migration many birds that are navigating the night sky become disoriented from artificial building lighting. Not only does city lighting deter the navigational abilities of migrating birds, but it also leads to an increase in fatal building collisions, killing an estimated billion birds annually. [Read more…] about Lights Out for Bird Migration Season
Springtime celebrations would not be complete without some forest confetti. One of the first trees to bloom in springtime, the red maple has tiny, vibrant clusters of flowers that put on quite the show. [Read more…] about Signs of Spring: Red Maple Flowers