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January 26, 2015
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River Talk

A conservation plan for eastern hemlock

Find a high-quality cold water stream that supports a brook trout habitat, and chances are that the stream is shaded by many eastern hemlock trees. In shading the stream, the hemlock trees are helping to keep the water temperature cool enough in summer so that the trout survive. In many areas though, these riparian ecosystems are in peril due to a die-off of eastern hemlock trees. There are several pests that are a threat to hemlock forests, but the main cause of the die-off is the hemlock wooly adelgid, a non-native insect that was first reported in Virginia in the 1950s.  Read more

Keeping our enviro-commitments

In my last column, “Enviro-resolutions,” I recommended getting to know the agencies involved in natural resource management in the Upper Delaware River region. Another organization that can help you keep your commitment to greater outdoor experiences throughout the new year is the non-profit Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation (PPFF).

The official partner of the Pennsylvania State Parks and Forests, the organization strives to support the state’s natural and cultural resources through leadership in recreation, education, conservation and volunteerism.  Read more

The winter eagle count cometh

As you read this, the 2015 Mid-Winter Bald Eagle Survey is underway. Coordinated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), this eagle survey is taking place in most states in the U.S., including New York and PA. This survey takes place during the first two weeks of January, with January 9 to 10 as target dates. It is this time when many Canadian migrant eagles have arrived from their northern breeding grounds in order to forage from ice-free water of the contiguous U. S.  Read more

Enviro-resolutions

The new year is upon us, and with its arrival comes the opportunity to re-consider our commitment to the spectacular natural resources we are blessed with here in the Upper Delaware River region. Most of us already “walk our talk” at various levels on behalf of those resources; but there is always more that can be done.

Following are a few suggestions to launch your list of New Year’s Enviro-resolutions:  Read more

A white Christmas or not?

As I write this, it is a week before Christmas, and as I look out the window at 8 a.m., it is 36 degrees outside and the snow cover can best be described as “scattered to broken” here in Shohola, PA. Some mild weather has arrived since our last big snowstorm, and depending where you are, you may have more or less snow on the ground at your location.  Read more

Stories in the snow

When I was a child, my parents gave me a small plastic camera. Little did they know they were placing me on a path that continues to illuminate my life today as I shoot digital images throughout the Upper Delaware River region, some of which wind up in this column.

Last weekend, our 11-year-old niece Joei Shaller joined us for a hike at Shohola Recreation Area, where we plied our cameras in capturing images of animal signs along the trail we explored. The snow made the process very productive, with evidence of animal life all around us.  Read more

Mild days may yield surprises

It was the last week in November, a few days before Thanksgiving, when I was driving in the pre-dawn darkness on a quiet road. A steady rain was ushering in a couple of days of unseasonably mild weather for this time of year. A few leaves were on the wet road, and all seemed normal until one of the leaves hopped. A look at the size of the hopping “leaf” and the length of the hop indicated that it could be an American toad.  Read more

Feeder season

On Thanksgiving Day, while most of us in the Upper Delaware River Valley enjoyed feasting in warm homes with family and friends, regional wildlife were suddenly faced with greater challenges than usual in finding adequate food. Thanks to an impressive amount of dense snow that quickly covered much of the available natural food sources, our avian neighbors resorted to pecking their way along the edges of cleared roadways, gathering up bits of seed, gravel and sips of melted snow.  Read more

Turkeys: eat in the fall, count in the winter

As you read this, you may be getting ready for that big Thanksgiving dinner. Most people associate the Thanksgiving holiday with turkey and turkey will be on the menus of most households across America. Some folks may even partake of wild turkey due to a successful hunt during fall turkey season. Today, whether we are looking in the poultry section of the supermarket, or in the woods in back of the house, there are usually turkeys aplenty to be seen; but it wasn’t always that way.  Read more

Tree diseases

A variety of afflictions affect trees in the Upper Delaware River region, ranging from those caused by insects, like the hemlock wooly adelgid to others caused by fungi like anthracnose. “River Talk” reader, Star Hesse contacted us recently regarding the appearance of black blotches on the leaves of maple trees along Route 97 in Barryville, NY.  Read more

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