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
On Valentine’s Day, as I sat down to write, I noticed a burst of blue outside my upstairs window. Looking out with my binoculars, I counted six eastern bluebirds. Clustered on and below my suet feeders, they were a wonderfully pleasant surprise on a chilly February morning. As I watched, the bluebirds briefly fed on the suet before finding perches in a red maple above the feeders. Within a few moments, they were gone entirely, an ephemeral splash of color amidst a snow-covered Maine lawn. [Read more…] about Bluebirds: New York’s State Bird in Winter
In general I’m rather positive about immigrants, but not the six-legged kind. Many of the insects which have made themselves at home here over the past few decades show up with interesting and colorful names like emerald ash borer, velvet longhorned beetle, and spotted lantern fly. Amusing monikers or not, this is a ménagerie of mischief-makers, and one of the more recent arrivals is quite a foul character indeed. [Read more…] about Another Invasive: Samurais and Stinkers
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is urging pet and aquarium stores and consumers to immediately remove and properly dispose of commercially purchased “moss balls” for aquariums after invasive zebra mussels were discovered inside and on some of these products, as reported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Consumers should be advised that moss ball products purchased from Petco and PetSmart may be subject to a voluntary product recall. [Read more…] about DEC Warns Aquarium Owners About Invasive Zebra Mussels
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?
It is an outstanding opportunity to see three American bald eagles devouring their lunch, but even more fantastic of an opportunity to be able to learn there’s more to the story. [Read more…] about Eagle Banded 26 Years Ago Spotted In Lewis County
DEC and their partners that make up the Catskill Advisory Group have invited the public to take part in a short survey which looks at visitor use challenges faced by the Catskill region and potential solutions. [Read more…] about Catskills Visitor Use Survey Underway
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
No offense, but Franklin D. Roosevelt should maybe bug off with his assertion that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” because fear is good for gardeners and farmers. According to entomologists Nicholas Aflitto and Jennifer Thaler of the Cornell University-based New York State Integrated Pest Management Program (NYSPIM), it can be harnessed as a weapon against destructive pests. Turns out it’s possible to scare harmful insects out of gardens and crop fields. [Read more…] about Fear and Gardening in Pest Management