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November 26, 2014
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River Talk

Upper Delaware BioBlitz

On June 29, the public is invited to experience the diversity of life on a property owned by the Norcross Wildlife Foundation in the Northeast corner of Wayne County, during the first Upper Delaware BioBlitz.

At a BioBlitz, biologists and volunteers gather to collect, identify and catalogue as many living things as possible on a demarcated property in a 24-hour period.  Read more

Wetland wildlife watching

If you have visited a lake, swamp or other wetland lately, you have probably heard the arrival of spring in the form of spring peepers, pickerel frogs, or maybe the honking of Canada geese. If you look closer, you might see some painted turtles basking on a log or some red-spotted newts swimming by the shore. Soon, other amphibians such as green frogs and American toads will add to the chorus of wetland habitats.  Read more

A stinky survivor

A sure sign of spring in the Upper Delaware region, particularly near waterways and boggy wetlands, is the green rising of skunk cabbage plants. So named for the repugnant odor of decaying flesh that the plant emits when bruised, this hardy perennial is also commonly referred to as polecat weed and hermit of the bog.  Read more

Nature springs forth

Officially, spring has been here for a few weeks, and the sun has been getting higher in the sky. The cold weather, however, has been showing resistance in leaving, as it usually does by this time. I have seen snow and ice on the ground in shaded areas in northern Delaware and Sullivan Counties as late as the 8th of April this year.  Read more

Wood frog whereabouts

The first time I heard wood frogs “quacking” from a forested vernal pool, I thought I was hearing numerous ducklings. As I approached the tangled brush fringing the water, the sound mysteriously stopped. No matter where I looked, not a feather was to be seen. But here and there, the water rippled with the kerplunk of countless wood frogs diving into the shallow depths.  Read more

Dressed for the occasion

Spring is here, even if it seems late for a lot of people. Many animals are getting ready for the warm weather to come. Migration and breeding activities are at the top of the list for many birds, and newly born young of various mammal species will shortly make their appearance.  Read more

Landscape legacy

Across America, growing numbers of people are becoming aware of the costs and impacts associated with meeting our country’s energy needs through continuing dependence on fossil fuels. In Pennsylvania, we need look no farther than the anthracite coal region of Northeast Pennsylvania to see evidence of the lasting legacy of coal extraction.  Read more

Snow bugs

There are some insects that just don’t know when to quit, it seems. On a mild day in winter, you may spot small flying insects, spiders, or even the striking Mourning Cloak butterfly. These insects are protected by antifreeze-like substances in their bodies, and it doesn’t take too much mild weather to see them emerge for a temporary hiatus from their deep winter dormancy.  Read more

Red for a reason

In my last column about webcams, readers were pointed to opportunities to intimately observe birds with the aid of modern technology. Those who prefer a more active role can consider participating in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s NestWatch project, in which “citizen scientists” are helping to provide answers to questions about bird nesting behavior by monitoring nests and reporting their observations utilizing online data entry tools.  Read more

A trio of rehabbed raptors released

With spring around the corner, migrant birds of all types are preparing to make their move north. Eagles that are over-wintering in our area are returning to their Canadian breeding grounds, and the first returning turkey vultures should be arriving in our region right around the start of March. A few raptors suffered various mishaps during fall and winter, however, and they spent the winter healing up at the avian equivalent of a hospital.  Read more