Nature

The presence of the hemlock woolly adelgid, an invasive insect, can be identified by its egg sacs, which resemble tiny white tufts of cotton attached to the underside of hemlock branches. 
Photo by the Connecticut Agricultural 
Experiment Station Archive via wikimedia.org

Our Hemlocks Are In Trouble!

Eastern hemlocks (Tsuga canadensis) have been a staple of our forests in western New York for longer than humankind has been living here. As a long-lived tree species, they don’t reach maturity until at least 250 years of age and can live for over 800 years. They can grow well over 150 feet ...

Spring peeper.

Autumnal Recrudescence

Bluebirds murmur as they investigate the nest box, their solemn songs melodic in the morning fog. A White-throated Sparrow joins in from the edge of the pasture, clear and crystal. Faintly a Ruffed Grouse drums, and the peepers call with gusto from the pond. Dandelions appear scattered on the ...

It’s Time To Watch Feeders

I’m often asked, “Is feeding birds is really necessary?” The simple answer is no. We feed birds because we enjoy seeing them in our backyards. But while we’re at it, why not make our efforts a bit more worthwhile by participating in Project FeederWatch, Cornell University’s citizen ...

The wildflowers of autumn cheerfully bid our presence among them while warm fall days remain. Whatever their species, and wherever they bloom, autumn’s backyard beauties bring bittersweet reminders of seasons swiftly passing, gently nudging us to embrace the gifts and blessings of now.

Season Of Beauty

As October days grow cool and crisp, the soft green lushness of summer’s splendor gives way to autumn’s golden fields, crimson leaves and fleeting floral tapestry. Flamboyantly splashed along sunny roadsides, stream banks, wetlands and woodlands, living bouquets of fragrance, form and hue ...

Seeing a Timber Rattlesnake is an experience that is like no other, but many people go a lifetime without seeing one. 
Photo by Don Watts

Seeking New Experiences

Rarely does a photo on Facebook make me jealous, but one of my friends put one up last summer that made me drool with envy. She was in a creek with a bunch of other people lifting a giant rock to find one of the most elusive salamanders in the area, the hellbender. This giant salamander ...

October Change

October brings predictable and noticeable changes to the natural world. Day-length shortens and temperatures dip. The first frost is imminent. Reds, oranges and yellows brighten the leaves on trees. Chipmunks cluck as they scurry about searching for food. Bird migration peaks. Nocturnal voices ...

Fall Leaves — Managing A Beautiful Resource

Each fall, property owners repeat the cycle of managing the leaves that drop from the trees into their yards. What you do with these leaves can either benefit or harm your yard’s environment – as well as that of the lake or other waterway downhill from your property. Why? Because leaves ...

Bearing a resemblance to the continent of North America, this immense cloud of gas and dust is visible this month in small wide-field and low-power telescopes. It lies about 1800 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus.
                 
Courtesy 
One-Minute Astronomer

The October Skies

“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.” — Carl Sagan, Science as a Candle in the Dark The planet Mercury is behind the sun during October and is lost in the solar glare. Dazzling Venus appears due east in the predawn sky in early ...

It’s Time To Fill The Bird Feeders

If the weather forecasters are right, the October cool down should have begun by now. After days of unseasonably late September heat, I’m ready to concentrate on feeding my backyard birds. Here are some tips. The single food that attracts the greatest variety of birds to feeders is ...

Fall is the perfect time of year to plant trees, which add value to our lives, our homes and our waterways.
Photo by The Arbor Day Foundation

Fall Is A Great Time To Plant A Tree

At this time of year, we both admire trees for the spectacularly colorful show they provide to our landscape and curse them for the constant supply of leaves they drop on our lawns. But trees add value to our lives, to our homes and to our waterways that we may not always appreciate. Fall is ...

Audubon’s first Naturalist/Director Jim Yaich led and grew the programs held at the nature center under almost a quarter century of leadership. 
Submitted photos

Audubon’s Witness Tree

The old Sugar Maple on the rise has seen a lot in the last 100 years. From its perch on this low hill, the seasons, the years, the birds and even the people have come and gone. The hill used to have a view all the way to Route 62 without a tree to block the way. The story of this Sugar Maple ...

Conservation By The Numbers

According to the preliminary results of the recently released 2016 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, 101.6 million Americans 16 years old and older, 40 percent of the U.S. population, enjoyed some form of wildlife-related recreation. The Survey shows that ...

Chautauqua Watershed Notes

It’s tough to be misunderstood and blamed for things you don’t do. In the natural world, goldenrod is one plant that fits perfectly into this category. Ever since I can remember, I was told that goldenrod was the “bad guy.” When in bloom, people said it caused hay fever, sneezing and ...

An Eastern Screech Owl is pictured.

Sleeping With The Windows Open

After my brother was born, dad and the neighbors transformed the attic into a bedroom for my sister and me. Tongue and groove knotty pine boards on walls and ceiling created an atmosphere of rustic log cabin. The men also created a built-in table that served as both desk and vanity, a big ...

There’s A Bird In The House!

“Scott! There’s a bird in the house!” I was still in bed, and Linda’s voice sounded urgent, but not panicked. “What kind of bird, and where is it?” I asked. “It’s a titmouse in the spare bedroom. Close the door, and I’ll open the window and chase it out,” Linda said ...

Rain barrels such as this one can help slow the flow of stormwater runoff from your home. 
Photo by Jen Maguder

We’re All Connected

A man asked me recently, “What is the most invasive species in the area?” He listened carefully to all the replies about exotic plants, ash borers and such and then said, “You know what? I think people are the most invasive species, and I am one of them.” That comment made me think ...

Monarch butterfly on purple aster with yellow sea of goldenrod in the background. 
Photo by Jennifer Schlick

September Fields

For the past five years, the views on my ride to work at this time of year never get old. In particular, I never tire of seeing the fields near the corner of Routes 60 and 62, radiant with yellows and pinks. Goldenrod and Joe Pye Weed carpet the unkempt part of this field as they do in so ...

Meet Some Common Spiders

Fall is in the air. On Thursday morning the thermometer dipped to 46 degrees. Everywhere I look I see signs of seasonal change. Leaves have begun to change colors, and some have even begun to fall. Adult male hummingbirds have already headed south. Blooming goldenrod is turning old fields ...

While flying squirrels cannot truly fly, they are more than graceful fallers that let gravity do their work for them. 
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia, Angie Spuc

Fantastic Flying Squirrels

As a bat biologist, I am often quick to point out the fact that bats are the only true flying mammal and that “flying” squirrels merely fall with grace. While it is correct to state that flying squirrels cannot truly fly, they are more than graceful fallers that let gravity do their work ...

Chasing Ice

“Chasing Ice” is the best and most important documentary you’ve probably never seen or even heard of. Period. For years I’ve been debating climate change with deniers who simply will not listen to science or reason. My best strategy has been to ask them to google aerial photographs of ...