BREAKING NEWS

BREAKING NEWS

Nature

Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris) is an excellent native plant for wet areas and rain gardens. 
Photo by Jonathan Townsend

The Importance Of Going Native

The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy has long been a proponent of native gardening and restoring ecosystems through the control of non-native species and the re-establishment of native plants. We have worked to do this on the network of over 1,000 acres of nature preserves that we manage, and ...

A raccoon in a tree. 
Photos by Jeff Tome

Season Of Love

Valentine’s Day has just come and gone. I am not a fan of the “holiday” such that it is. Rather it marks a different milestone for me. The middle of February is when many animals awake. Love is in the air for them as well as humans, and often it is the males that leave their winter ...

It’s Nest Box Season

In about six weeks, cavity-nesting birds such as chickadees and bluebirds will begin collecting nesting material to build their nests. So it’s time to build or buy some nest boxes so the birds have time to accept the boxes as part of their habitat. To make a difference for cavity-nesters in ...

Countless creatures, both seen and unseen, depend for their survival upon the “green things” of swamps and shorelands, woodlands and wetlands, where the land meets the lake, among the water and the waves. 
Photo by Becky Nystrom

Life In The Lake

Where land meets lake and green things grow, life abounds. Natural shorelines of the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy’s Prendergast Point Preserve, Loomis Goose Creek Lakeshore Wetland, Chautauqua Lake Outlet Wetland Greenway, Cassadaga Lake Fern Island Wetland Preserve, and other wild places ...

Photos by Margaret Foley

Under The Ice And Snow

Like most of Western New York I decided to use the recent warm winter weather to thaw and get outside. After going back and forth about where I wanted to go hiking, I finally decided on Bear Cave Trail, a four-mile trail on the Quaker side of Allegany State Park. After parking my car at the ...

Why Feed The Birds?

Is it true that birds in my backyard will starve if I don’t feed them? And my neighbor insists that if I start feeding them, I must continue all winter long. Is this true? These are questions I hear many times every year. The simple answers are “no” and “no.” Though birds happily ...

Revisiting The Chautauqua Lake Watershed Management Plan

In September 2010, the Chautauqua Lake Watershed Management Plan was finalized after years of study and coordination among numerous interested agencies, scientists, local officials, sportsmen and other specialists. More than seven years have passed since the issuance of this Plan, and it is ...

A sunrise is pictured over the Chautauqua Bell Tower in February 2007. 
P-J photos by Jennifer Schlick

The Transitions

Change is inevitable. Night becomes day. Winter gives way to spring. Caterpillars turn into butterflies, eggs into baby birds, acorns into mighty oaks, seedpods into clouds of fluff. I close my eyes in the dark and wake up with the sun streaming in my window. The change seems instantaneous. ...

Tiny Kinglets

If asked to name the smallest bird that visits backyard feeders, I suspect most people would answer “hummingbird.” And that would be correct. At less than four grams (28.3 grams = one ounce), these tiny dynamos are marvels of physiology, anatomy, and aerodynamics. But if we limit the ...

To improve and protect our waterways, such as Chautauqua Lake and its tributaries, we need to ask the question, “How is your community managing your watershed?” 
Photo by Jen Leister

Get Educated, Get Involved

The lakes and streams in Chautauqua County are some of our region’s most valuable assets. These waterways have been impacted for decades by the landscapes which “shed” water to them. Chautauqua Lake, for instance, is impacted by tributaries subjected to excessive flood volume, erosion, ...

River Otter, who just emerged from a hole in the frozen pond.

Tracking

One of my favorite things to do on winter walks is look for animal tracks. Creatures can hardly avoid leaving their mark in the winter snow. I headed out on a short walk at lunch, without agenda or destination but curious to see who was about in this winter weather before me. The conditions ...

2018 — Year Of The Bird

“If you take care of birds, you take care of most of the environmental problems in the world.” — Thomas Lovejoy, biologist and conservationist In a nutshell, this explains why conservationists celebrate 2018 as the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, the most important ...

Although it’s easy to see craters on the moon using binoculars, you won’t see any of these craters. This image shows the far side of the moon that always faces away from Earth. Over vast periods of time, tidal forces from Earth slowed down the moon’s rotation, in a process called tidal locking. Now, the same side of the moon always faces Earth.
                             Courtesy LRO, NASA, GSFC, Arizona State Univ.

The February Skies

“We live in a changing Universe and few things are changing faster than our conception of it.” Timothy Ferris Little Mercury is behind the sun during February and cannot be seen due to the solar glare. Bright Venus ...

A snow covered trail just waiting to be explored — could this be your “happy place”? 
photo by Susan M. Songster Weaver

Find Your Happy Place

Do you have a “happy place”? If so, is it somewhere you feel peaceful and content, somewhere that makes you smile all over? That’s how I feel when I am in mine, but my “happy place” isn’t always the same. It changes with the seasons. In the spring, it’s in my garden. Summer’s ...

A student holds a jaw bone.

Dead Things Spark Curiosity

I have a sign that says “if people bring you dead things and it gets you excited, you might be a naturalist.” It is part of campaign that the National Association for Interpretation is running, but that one made me laugh, and is quite accurate so I printed it and hung it up where I ...

The Lagomorphs

If asked to name the group of mammals to which biologists assign rabbits, many would answer “rodents.” But that would be incorrect. Rabbits, like the familiar cottontails we see in our backyards, and hares are lagomorphs, members of the mammalian order Lagomorpha (from the Greek, hare + ...

In a world hushed in icy stillness, it’s a time to pause and ponder, reflect and rest, with renewed awareness and appreciation of the fleeting beauty of the seasons of life. 
Photo by Deb Lanni

A Moment In Time

As I write this in early January, the world is hushed in a blanket of snow and icy stillness. It’s a time to pause and ponder, with renewed awareness and appreciation of the fleeting nature of the seasons of life. Life’s wondrous tapestry weaves its story of beauty, mystery, and miracle in ...

A hike with lots of people often means that wildlife will hide, but other things, like this miniature slime volcano, can still amaze and confuse. 
Photos by Jeff Tome

TV-Worthy Nature Moments

Nature on TV is so amazing. There are eagles diving for fish and flying off to a tree to munch on them, with videography showing close ups so remarkable that you could count the feathers on the eagle’s head. It is easy to watch River Otters diving for fish or frolicking across the ice. ...

How Insects Survive The Winter

The last few weeks of frigid temperatures made it clear that surviving winter is one of nature’s toughest challenges. Animals must either avoid the cold stress of winter or somehow cope with it. Groundhogs, black bears and most reptiles and amphibians hibernate. Triggered by shorter days ...

Curious Naturalists Love Owl Pellets

My wife, Linda, does most of our Christmas shopping, but occasionally I’m inspired to buy a few special gifts. A few weeks ago I introduced my grandson, five-year old Garek, to owl pellets. I had been browsing through the www.acornnaturalist.com website when I noticed it offered owl ...