In recent weeks, a trilling call emanating from wetlands, ponds and lakes has been a clue to the presence of toads, most commonly the Eastern American toad (Bufo americanus) and their efforts to attract mates. The sound is just as lovely to the ear as the ensuing strands of bracelet-like eggs are to the eye. Read more
Since May 19, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has been accepting public comments on three regulatory proposals for hunting and trapping of wild turkey, deer and fisher. Comments will continue to be accepted through June 29 The proposed changes for all species are a result of a combination of field research, harvest reporting and hunter/landowner feedback. Read more
One of spring’s many delights is the arrival of wildlife babies. Their survival is sometimes put to the test, as happened to seven red fox kits found in a Walmart parking lot in Trexlertown, PA. Fortunately, they were rescued by the Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center (PWRC), which has cared for tens of thousands of injured and orphaned animals since its founding in 1983. Read more
On the day before I started writing this column, I had a conversation with a National Park Service ranger on the subject of ospreys after one was sighted near one of the many bald eagle nests along the Delaware River. There was agreement that osprey sightings are a lot less numerous than bald eagles along the river. Ospreys are piscivores, or fish eaters, so a person would think that ospreys would be at least as numerous as eagles. That doesn’t seem to be the case. Read more
In my last column, I advocated for getting up and going outside to see what’s happening in the natural world. Happily, I took my own advice and was pleased to find the answer is—a lot. In just a few not-very-extensive rambles within five miles of my home, I encountered all of the interesting things depicted in this column (and more). On the last day of April, the first hummingbird arrived. (Put those feeders out!)
If your forays take you into areas where hunting is allowed, be mindful to wear fluorescent orange as turkey season is underway in both Pennsylvania and New York through May.
As I stabilize my kayak by grabbing an underwater branch to keep from spooking some basking painted turtles on the shore, one thing is readily apparent: the water is cold, numbingly cold. Someone falling overboard would be in real danger of being overcome by the effects of hypothermia if they didn’t exit the water quickly. But the turtles didn’t seem to be affected by the cold water, though they spend a lot of time basking in the sun this time of year in order to regulate their body temperature. Read more
Tuning in to the shifting of the seasons is restorative on many levels. In the Upper Delaware River region, it’s time to shake off the shackles of the snow-laden season and wake up our winter-weary senses to spring’s arrival.
It should go without saying that this can’t be accomplished from the comfort of one’s couch. Reaping the benefits of interacting with the natural world requires that we actually go outside to experience the beauty and mystery of all that is happening now.
Opportunities to re-connect are all around, including two Earth Day festivals coming up this weekend. Read more
Among the species of bat in our region is the Northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis). Also known as the Northern Myotis, this and other species of bats have been affected by white nose syndrome (WNS). WNS is a fungus that affects bats while they are in their hibernacula over the winter; in affected hibernacula, bat mortality rates of 90% or more have been observed. Read more
At this time of year, the dingy snowbanks are slowly absorbed into the thawing earth, revealing the dregs of accumulated garbage along rural roadways in the Upper Delaware River region. The Pennsylvania road where I live is littered with unlovely, castoff crap like plastic water bottles, aluminum beer cans and strangely—empty cat-food cans. Read more
The vernal equinox has arrived in the region, along with some subtle hints that winter is on its way out; temperatures in the 50s have occurred, but are still getting into the teens at night. March can bring all kinds of weather, mild one day and a blizzard the next. Read more