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August 21, 2014
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River Talk

Flicker fledglings

When a friend called me up and said he had a northern flicker nest in his backyard in late June, I packed my camera and binoculars in anticipation of some good looks. Northern flickers, as most woodpeckers, are cavity nesters, and the cavities are frequently low enough on the trunks of trees to afford some excellent views of young being fed by adults.  Read more

Turkey vultures: a feathered fascination

While few would contend that the turkey vulture is attractive, most would probably admit that in flight, it is indeed beautiful and that it most definitely has some unique—and somewhat offensive—characteristics.  Read more

Breeding eagle update

As those of you who didn’t travel to warmer climes for the winter realize, we experienced an overall mild winter, with above-normal temperatures and minimal ice cover on rivers and lakes. Indeed, during the 2012 annual Mid-Winter Bald Eagle Survey for New York State, there was no ice recorded on the river during the week of January 10, which is the usual target date for the survey. No ice on the river has only been recorded for a handful of times of the 34 years that New York has been participating in the survey.  Read more

Rhodes legacy lives on

UPPER DELAWARE REGION — Danilo Carvajal, 59, is the latest person in a long string of those who can thank Richard “Dick” Rhodes for their very life. While not directly rescued by Rhodes, Carvajal was saved by Erika Poston on her first day of service as a trained volunteer of the National Canoe Safety Patrol (NCSP), the organization Rhodes co-founded 30 years ago, and was passionate about, up until the day he died on April 17.  Read more

Caution: fawn crossing

A couple of years ago in June, there was a motorcycle ride in New Jersey to benefit a children’s foundation, and I was riding with our local chapter of the Red Knights. We were on a rural road in Sussex County, when I spotted a doe and her fawn come out to the shoulder of the road maybe six bikes ahead of me. A split second later, the fawn shot across the road right between two riders. The fawn disappeared in the brush unscathed and the riders likely breathed a sigh of relief.  Read more

Country Ark Farm festivities

An interesting collection of exotic and domestic animals were featured at a recent Open Farm Day at Country Ark Farm (CAF) near Milford, PA. Run by the Ciancitto family and a group of volunteers for the past 23 years, the non-profit foundation provides recreational, pet and art therapy experiences for mentally, emotionally and physically challenged children and adults. CAF is housed on a 26-acre property which is home to an assortment of well-socialized animals that have been hand-raised for the various programs offered.  Read more

Carpenter bees: Unwanted home improvements

In May, a friend had quite a few bees flying around his barn; they appeared like bumblebees and frequently could be seen chasing each other around, occasionally meeting in a mid-air grapple. I looked around the upper part of the structure and found a few round holes about the size that a .38 caliber bullet would make. These were not bullet holes; the bees chasing each other were male carpenter bees defending their territory.  Read more

Another invasive comes to the valley

As if the number of invasive plants and insects becoming established in the Upper Delaware River Valley weren’t already ample enough, a new plant is creeping into the local landscape.

The National Park Service (NPS) has announced the discovery of “mile-a-minute vine” (Polygonum perfoliatum), which gets its name from the astonishing growth rate of the annual vine—up to six inches in one day and over 20 feet in one growing season.  Read more

Crazy as a loon

When spring arrives, a varied assortment of waterfowl transits the region on the way to summer breeding grounds. Some are local breeders but others are on their way north; the spring period gives an opportunity to sight species that we won’t see for the rest of the year.

One of these visitors may not be too noticeable at first. They are usually on larger lakes; from a distance they have the silhouette of a merganser, but they appear larger and darker. If you hear one of these waterfowl call, though, you will probably recognize the unmistakable yodel of a common loon.  Read more

Walk the Wallenpaupack Creek

HAWLEY, PA — The Wallenpaupack Creek Trail (WCT) in Hawley highlights the history of the hydroelectric project constructed in the early 1920s and managed by Pennsylvania Power and Light (PPL) today. Interpretive panels along the footpath highlight the history of the lake and dam.  Read more