“O Tannenbaum” is the German version of the song “O Christmas Tree” that we hear so often during this holiday season. Tannenbaum is also the German translation for a fir tree, a very popular conifer to have indoors as the traditional Christmas tree. There are a number of varieties of conifers and evergreens in our region, some of which make suitable Christmas trees, but all have some impact on nature and wildlife.
Here are a few of our most common conifers: Read more
Acrobatic artists of the treetops, gray squirrels navigate their habitats with skill and grace, leaping from branch to limb in an aerial circuit that is both impressive and entertaining. Technically a rodent, the gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) is Pennsylvania and New York’s most common squirrel. Other native squirrels are the fox, red and nocturnal flying squirrels. Read more
As the warm spell of the first week of December ends, there have been quite a few species of fall and winter birds spotted. Buffleheads, common and hooded mergansers, and ring-billed gulls are present on the nearby lakes, while passerines such as pine siskins partake at bird feeders. There have already been snowy owl sightings in New York State. Read more
PENNSYLVANIA – Many readers of The River Reporter who enjoy the River Talk column’s weekly images of nature are themselves handy with a camera. Based on some of the photos we’ve received from readers over the years, we know there are a good number of folks out there dedicated to capturing beautiful photos of the abundant wildlife and waterways in the Upper Delaware region. Read more
As colder weather arrives, geese can be heard overhead on their southward flight and deer are in the midst of the fall rut. This is usually the month when the snow starts to fly and the ground turns from brown to white. Migratory species such as bufflehead and green-winged teal can be spotted on waterways through the fall season. Read more
Fall and winter water recreationists should be aware of a new regulation that applies to all Pennsylvania waters. Passed by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) in September 2011, the regulation went into effect on November 1, 2012 and continues through April 30, 2013. It requires boaters to wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket while underway or at anchor on boats less than 16 feet in length or any canoe or kayak. Read more
A week or so after Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the northeast U.S. and our region, the sun has returned. Leaves that were left on the trees before the storm were blown down, along with a few of the trees. The trees have been cleared from the roadways and power has been restored, but many homeowners have blown-down trees or branches to contend with. Some of this blown-down debris has its own hidden hazard. Read more
While many animals weather unusual events like last week’s hurricane better than humans do, there are impacts nonetheless that affect wildlife in various ways.
In addition to potentially dangerous factors such as toppled or dangling trees and downed powerlines, some species, such as tree-nesting birds, may lose the shelter of their homes. Others may be forced to adapt to serious habitat destruction. Read more
Our region is blessed with many diverse habitats. Moving from mountain to valley will bring a whole different range of fauna and flora that can be seen. The arrival of fall brings much change as animals hibernate or migrate, and we see many visitors that are passing through or overwinter here.
Many people have become familiar with various species to the extent of knowing which ones are “good” or “bad” due to such things as what they eat, where they nest or roost, or even what they look like. Read more
The fall forests are full of fanciful fungi right now. Two common but interesting mushrooms that are easily encountered in the Upper Delaware region are puffballs and jelly fungi.
Puffballs are part of a class of fungi known as Gasteromycetes (stomach fungi) that produce spores inside their fruit bodies. They are most often spherical or pear-shaped with rough outer walls and smooth inner walls that act as pouches for the powdery spore masses contained within. Read more