During the last day of August, I walked past a Russian sage plant in Shohola and took a close look for any interesting insect life. Russian sage blooms well into the fall and will attract a wealth of pollinators and other insects. Almost right away, I noticed a honey bee. This was noteworthy, because it’s rare that I see honey bees in the wild anymore, and I hadn’t noticed any honey bees in the past in this particular area. As I continued to watch, I saw more honey bees and soon saw that they outnumbered the more common bumblebees and any other pollinators present that day. Read more
The Upper Delaware River region is rich with a variety of wildlife. Some species are quite commonly encountered, while others are fairly elusive. I saw two of the latter recently—one in my backyard and the other along a nearby dirt road. Read more
The Pennsylvania Game Commission and Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) have announced that they are seeking public input on the draft 2015-2025 Pennsylvania Wildlife Action Plan. The purpose of the plan is “to conserve Pennsylvania’s native wildlife, maintain viable habitat, and protect and enhance Species of Greatest Conservation Need.” Read more
In July, I shared some photos of early summer’s flowered finery (www.riverreporter.com/column/river-talk/11/2015/07/01/flowered-finery). As the season has progressed, a different set of regional beauties has seized the stage. Along the banks of the Lackawaxen River, an assortment of flowering plants are now competing for resources such as light, water and nourishment to sustain their showy blooms. Some are faring better than others, but all are putting on a lively display, guaranteed to satisfy our senses and restore our spirits. Read more
It’s a hot day, and you hear a sound in the trees that can best be describes as a buzzing, or a gourd being rattled at a high cadence, lasting about a half a minute, and finally fading into nothing. The same sound might immediately be followed by an identical sound from another tree, perhaps farther off. We associate this sound with the heat of summer, because it is usually heard during the hottest part of the day. The singers we hear in the trees reinforcing the fact that it is very hot outside are none other than the dog-day cicada. Read more
Lately, it seems I frequently encounter wild turkeys throughout my travels. As proof of their pervasiveness, I was joined by a young turkey that ambled out of the brush near the picnic table where I had perched to listen to the festive music at the Appalachian Fiddle and Bluegrass Festival in Wind Gap, PA last weekend. Read more
Every spring, fisherman flock to the Upper Delaware River to try their luck in catching migrating American shad; from May into June, shad migrate to the upper reaches of the river in order to spawn. After spawning, many of the adult shad die, but some survive, to migrate downstream and back to the sea. Meanwhile, the fertilized shad eggs hatch, and the tiny shad fry spend the summer in the river. In the fall, these two-to-three-inch young-of-year (YOY) juveniles start their own migration to the sea. Read more
The Upper Delaware River region is riddled with water bodies, ranging from rivers to lakes, ponds, streams and wetlands. Those who spend time near such waters are likely to encounter the northern water snake, a large colorful snake that ranges in size from 24 to 50 inches at maturity.
This non-venomous snake is sometimes mistaken for the northern copperhead, a venomous species that prefers drier habitats featuring rocky terrains. Generally speaking, venomous snakes in our region have flattened triangular-shaped heads. But head shape can be misleading. Read more
It’s July, and this is the time when young birds of all types are reaching the point where they are leaving their nests and learning to fend for themselves. Among the myriad of species of young birds that are leaving their nests is the bald eagle. Read more
Bogs are one of nature’s most mysterious and intriguing ecosystems. We are fortunate to have a spectacular bog in the Upper Delaware River region, where the public can experience the unique plants, insects, birds and other life forms that thrive in this special habitat.
The Tannersville Cranberry Bog in nearby Monroe County is protected by The Nature Conservancy and open to the public. Environmental educators from the Kettle Creek Environmental Education Center lead guided tours along a floating boardwalk on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, spring through fall. Read more