Posted on January 25th, 2011 Add a comment >>
Found this very interesting article in the NY Times authored by Roland Kays, who is the Curator of Mammals at the NYS Museum. He’s teaming up w/a Paul Smiths College grad for an ongoing study of fisher movements in upstate NY(Albany) forests.
Photo Credit: Fisher on tree – Wikipedia photo
Posted on January 21st, 2011 1 comment - Add a comment >>
If you are a birdwatcher then you have probably felt the angst when a fellow birder spots a bright red scarlet tanager tells you to look in the red oak tree….”And which tree is that?” you nervously ask.
Well now you can answer yourself, confidently, after you’ve looked over the pages of The Sibley Guide To Trees by David A. Sibley…yes the same author of The Sibley Guide To Birds
Here is a great interview from the Boston Globe where Sibley describes his latest field guide.
We, in the Adirondacks, have a slight “learn-your-trees-advantage” over someone in, let’s say Great Smokey Mountains National Park where 130 species of trees can be found. We can get by on learning our 35-45 species of trees which are found throughout the High Peaks and surrounding regions.
Take the guess-work out of tree identification and learn what to look for in our forests.
Posted on January 15th, 2011 Add a comment >>
Most folks living in the Adirondacks have their own favorite hike that they do in every season….mine happens to be Black Pond in Paul Smiths.
This latest snowstorm filled up the woods nicely with over 10 inches. It makes for a perfect snowshoe day. Here are some views I had on that day:
Throughout the winter white-tailed deer will often “yard up” in the woods surrounding Black Pond. Here they eat, and eat, and eat!
Ferns often produce spores on their large lacy leaves but this wetland fern called Sensitive Fern-Onoclea sensibilis produces spores on a stalk that remains visible through winter but eventually dies back in spring.
American beech leaves
Ice crystals form along the shoreline of a small stream…
…and on many branches nearby…
Ermine tracks-Mustela erminea, can be found all around the edge of the pond…
…and also entrance holes can be seen as the ermine “dive” into the snow on the scent of some food.
So get out on those snowshoes and see what’s out there!
Photo Credit: all photos Brian McAllister
Posted on January 5th, 2011 Add a comment >>
Hard to pass up a sunny…well partly sunny, day in the Adirondacks. With the recent announcement of the Paul Smiths VIC now officially under the ownership of Paul Smiths College, I thought it worthwhile to get out for a ski.
Many of the trails are still in the good shape that they’ve have always been, however one should avoid and heed the “trail closed signs” when skiing up into the Esker Ski Trail from the Silviculture Trail.
Currently white-tailed deer are feeding on many of the downed/fallen branches that remain behind from the timber harvesting. Some beech and maple bud tips are a welcomed food source.
Skiing the Jenkins Mountain Road I found several good animal tracks to examine and follow for awhile. This Ruffed Grouse set of prints tells us that the warmer temperatures have allowed grouse to feed in comfort rather burrowing down into loose snow to wait out another snowstorm.
Likewise, the coyotes are traveling through the woods. These prints were observed crossing the ski trail. If you look carefully at a canine(dog) print you will see a “X” in the middle of the oval print which results when the toe and heel pads press into the snow leaving behind a raised “X” between all pads. The feline family(cats) have a more circular shape to the print and lack a central “X” mark. Feline toes tend to be more forward in the print.
I hope the public continues to visit the “VIC” and if you do take the time to look at your surroundings. Find some animal tracks to follow and see if you can reveal the story they leave behind. Sit patiently and watch the woodpeckers pecking for food along the tree trunks and branches, or watch the acrobatic chickadees hang upside down along a branch as they look for spider eggs or insects.
The property is under new ownership(and stewardship) but the wildlife that survive there day to day probably won’t take notice of the new “landlords”, and for the rest of us….let’s not forget that we are also just visitors into their realm.
Photo Credits: Jenkins Mt Road ski trail(and all other photos)-Brian McAllister.