On Friday, November 13, the sky at Sunrise Mountain at Stokes State Forest, NJ dawned red with broken clouds and a southwest wind of 10 to 15 mph. The wind wasn’t entirely favorable for migrating raptors I was there to count; they prefer to move during tailwinds. However, I have noticed that similar wind conditions make migrating raptors fly closer to the ridge as they try to maximize the effects of ridge lift. Read more
The natural world is endlessly interesting and many of us who are not scientists nevertheless devote careful attention to what we observe around us. That devotion is not wasted, and in fact, is becoming increasingly recognized as a valuable source of information that can enhance our understanding of the non-human species with which we share our lives. Two new opportunities for “citizen scientists” to make a contribution are now available. Read more
The first week of November started out very pleasant with mild days and highs above 70 degrees—a little bit of very late Indian summer. I have seen some small flies flying around, a few small wasps, even a couple of cabbage white butterflies. Even though we have had some pretty good frosts, there is still one species of dragonfly around to see. Read more
Last Sunday, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s (PAFBC) mandatory lifejacket requirement went into effect. In place from November 1 through April 30, the requirement applies to all Pennsylvania waters and is aimed at protecting boaters from the special hazards presented by an unexpected plunge into cold water.
According to the PAFBC, nearly 80% of all boating fatalities happen to boaters not wearing a life jacket. The number of fatalities increases during the months of November through April due to the effects of cold water on the body. Read more
Over the past year, construction started on a parking area near the intersection of Route 6 and Twin Lakes Road in Milford Township, PA. There was much speculation over what it could be by some area residents. Another area of construction was on Route 6 just east of the Twin Lakes Road intersection. Unlike many construction projects, this particular project was for the benefit of people and the natural environment alike. This fall saw the fruits of over five years of planning and work: the Cornelia and Florence Bridge Preserve. Read more
Over the past decade, I’ve become increasingly concerned about the skyrocketing populations of ticks—and the associated rise in Lyme and other tick-borne diseases in the Upper Delaware River region. Those concerns have been validated by a report released in September 2015 by Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Karen Murphy. Read more
The fact that the milkweed plant is essential for the survival of the monarch butterfly is well known. Monarch butterflies can be seen taking nectar from a variety of flowering plants, but the larvae are only found eating milkweed. Adult female monarchs deposit their eggs on milkweed leaves, and as soon as the tiny caterpillar hatches until the time it enters its chrysalis stage, it is totally reliant on milkweed for sustenance. Read more
In August, I enjoyed the opportunity to participate in a walk into the heart—or “eye”—of the Tannersville Cranberry Bog in Monroe County, PA. In addition to experiencing the “quaking bog mat” that is at the center of this special place, we also were able to observe the unique habitat characterized by sphagnum moss, carnivorous plants, black spruce, orchids and more.
Some exciting news has been announced about the Bog, and the public will have the opportunity to celebrate it on October 18 at the Tannersville Bog Day event. Read more
People think of fall and for many, the first thing to come to mind is geese flying high overhead and winging their way south. This usually starts in earnest during the first part of October; the first frost usually occurs sometime in this timeframe and seems to reinforce the thought that it is time to head south. Read more
The calls of common loons are some of the most wonderful wilderness sounds to be experienced, ranging from yodels and hoots to long mournful wails. While this intelligent bird is not frequently encountered in the Upper Delaware River region, it is possible to spot the occasional loon set low upon quiet undisturbed waters, or to hear the unmistakable chortling call described as “maniacal laughter.” Read more