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September 27, 2016
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River Talk

Clarifying a misconception

Myths and misunderstandings abound in nature and can lead to undesirable outcomes. Such is the case when it comes to two plants that flower at this time of year. One of them provokes an allergic response in humans. The other does not, but it is often blamed for the offense. Why?
Ragweed is responsible for the host of symptoms associated with respiratory allergies. But although we’re all familiar with its name, many of us haven’t a clue what it looks like. That’s because its unassuming appearance allows it to fade into the background of our perception, behind other more showy plants.  Read more

Red-tail airshow

In a week or two, huge numbers of broad-winged hawks will fill the skies in some areas like Hawk Mountain in PA or Sunrise Mountain in New Jersey. That will be near-peak migration time for them as they make their move south, and daily counts may be in the thousands.  Read more

Likin’ lichen and fungi

“Take a Lichen to Fungus,” reads the flyer announcing an upcoming program that should provide participants with a better understanding of the important roles of decomposition and nutrient cycling played by fungus and lichen. “Fungus Among Us” is scheduled for September 11 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at the Pocono Environmental Education Center, located within the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in Dingmans Ferry, PA.  Read more

The color of late summer

With fall coming toward the end of this month, everyone is no doubt thinking of the brilliant colors of fall leaves—and cleaning them up afterwards. However, we still have a lot of colorful late summer foliage that can be seen without too much effort in the form of late flowering plants.  Read more

Planning for PA wildlife protection

Were you aware that Pennsylvania has a Wildlife Action Plan that guides how the state strives to conserve its most threatened wildlife species? First published in 2005, the 2015-2025 plan has again been updated and will be presented by the PA Fish and Boat and PA Game Commissions at the next Environmental Issues Forum of the Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee scheduled for October 24.  Read more

A very small predator

Walk near almost any patch of forest, or even your backyard now, and you will either see or hear one or more chipmunks. As they dart around foraging for seeds or nuts and chattering, and perhaps eating sunflower seeds out of someone’s hand, the “cuteness” factor is up pretty high for this small member of the squirrel family. But is there another side to this friendly little critter scurrying back and forth on the lawn? All may not be what it seems.  Read more

Basha Kill blooms

We are fortunate to have the largest wetland in Southeastern New York in our midst here in the Upper Delaware River region. Its lushness is almost indescribable at this time of year, with many flowering plants approaching their peak and providing a great show, in addition to their many benefits to the abundant species that thrive in the Basha Kill Wildlife Management Area (BKWMA).

Located just south of Wurtsboro, NY, the wildlife habitat and recreation area is managed by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), which purchased over 2,000 acres for the BKWMA in 1972.  Read more

Wetland aviators

Wetlands are usually nature’s gathering point during the heat of the summer. Green frogs and bullfrogs can be seen and heard as various species of turtles ply the water or sun themselves on a log. Also present, though, are many creatures winging their way in and about the wetlands. Whether they are foraging or breeding, they provide a good air show.  Read more

More than luck

It has been written that anglers go through several stages, beginning with catching the first fish. It does not matter whether it is a big one or a small one. The trick is to repeat that catch again and again. “I got my first rainbow today!” or “I caught a small-mouth bass on the Delaware!” Maybe it will be your first brook trout on a small Royal Coachman wet fly. There are a lot of opportunities to fill out your “dance card” of firsts.  Read more

Babes in the woods

While working in the yard earlier this year, I became aware of an unusual and repetitive call emanating from the forested hillside behind our home. Uncertain whether the sound was coming from a bird or animal, I grabbed my camera and went to investigate. Drawing closer to the source, I discovered it was emanating from a football-sized opening in the upper reaches of a very tall oak tree. Soon, a petite furry face emerged, followed by a second masked creature. Baby raccoons!  Read more

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