Nature

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 ...

A blanket of snow across Spatterdock Pond at Audubon.

‘The Shape Of Water’

“The Shape of Water” is a phrase scrolling on my social media feed. It is the title of a current movie. I’m not sure of the movie plot but I find the phrase intriguing. It conjures up an image of water in a glass. If the glass were to suddenly disappear, water would spread in a puddle ...

CWC: Working With Landowners For Conservation

Are you familiar with the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy? CWC is your local land conservation, watershed education and pollution prevention organization. Our mission is to preserve and enhance the water quality, scenic beauty and ecological health of the lakes, streams, wetlands and ...

This young Blue Jay was one of many young birds that grew up last year. 
Photos by Jeff Tome

Natural Reflections

Another year bites the dust. Today it is a memory. In 10 years it will be a fuzzy memory. In 20 years it will be history and the music from this year will be cool “retro” music on the radio and all of this year’s fashions, which will be embarrassing 10 years from now, will look cool ...

A Tribute To Great Friends

A new year brings an opportunity to look both ahead and back. I look to the future because I have two grandsons, ages three and five, and a granddaughter who will probably arrive before you read this. Their future knows no limits. I also look back to remember friends I’ve lost. One of ...

As viewed from Earth, the spiral galaxy NGC891 is viewed nearly exactly edge-on. This object can be seen in small telescopes on clear winter evenings. It lies 30 million light-years away in the constellation Andromeda.
                                Courtesy Subaru Telescope (NAOJ), Hubble Legacy Archive

The January Skies

The planet Mercury can be spotted very low in the east-southeast predawn sky during the first two weeks of January. On the morning of the 13th, it is joined by Saturn as the ringed planet rises higher while little Mercury sinks lower each day. Mercury then begins to swing behind the sun in ...

Recent improvement work on Ball Creek included re-grading, placing more than 760 tons of stone along about 250 feet of eroding stream bank, creating stream bed rock riffles, and planting 500 willow and dogwood plantings. 
Photo by Claire Quadri

Ball Creek Water Quality Improvement Project:  What A Difference!

What a difference a few weeks can make! My first visit to the Ball Creek Preserve was on a bright, warm October day, when the oranges, maroons, and golds of the fall leaves were still in full display. One of the most accessible of the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy’s nature preserves, the ...

A Christmas Poem

When I first wrote 'Twas the Morning of Christmas back in 1988, readers responded enthusiastically. I get requests to reprint it every year. When the excitement of Christmas morning settles down, sit down with your younger children and/or grandchildren and read my Christmas poem aloud. See how ...

American Crow.
Courtesy of the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

As The Crow Flies

In an effort to counteract the effects of holiday treats, after-work walks in my neighborhood have been more frequent this fall. Living in town, these evening walks are usually accompanied by the “caw, caw, caw” of crows. I easily recognize their large silhouettes and their distinct, ...

Seen Any Gulls Lately?

Large groups of birds usually attract attention and curiosity. If several thousand crows roost in trees above someone’s driveway, I hear about it. Or if during a mid-January thaw 400 robins show up and begin hunting for earthworms in a backyard, I’ll get a call. The frigid cold air that ...

Hemlock boughs add color and texture to Christmas wreaths. 
Photo by Susan M. Songster-Weaver

Gathering The Greens

Traditions are an important part of any holiday. As children, we witnessed and then participated in our family’s traditions. Many of us passed those traditions onto our children with the hope that the next generation would also embrace them enough to keep them alive. At Christmastime, one of ...

Red squirrel.
Photo by Jayne Gulbrand

Be Safe Out There

I like to hike on Sundays, but on this first Sunday of December, I will not hike. I stare out the kitchen window while my second cup of coffee drips through. It is a cloudless day with the subtle brightness of late fall. Lanky shadows, disproportionately long, crisscross the lawn. A diligent ...

Looks Like A Snowy Winter

A snowy owl is a charismatic bird. Most people have heard of it, and only dream of seeing one. Virtually all birders, however, want to add it to their life list. Perhaps it’s because they so infrequently push south into the lower 48 states from their natural habitat in the arctic tundra. And ...

A quick, quiet walk can sometimes reveal a lot, like these five River Otters swimming in a pond. 
Photo by Jeff Tome

Otter Time

The air was cool and crisp on a recent morning when I had an extra hour with nothing on the schedule: no meetings, no chores, no anything. I took that time to go for a seed nature hike to see what there was to see. My swift walk carried me past fields and forests until a sudden splashing in a ...

Snowy Owls are moving into the area because the population of their food in the north has crashed.

The Christmas Bird

It was one of those days when I didn’t want to go outside. The weather was frigid with that special damp cold when the temperature hovers in the upper 20’s and wet snow is falling, the kind of cold that seeps through layers of clothes and right down to your bones. New snow was unplowed ...

Welcome Back!

Each spring birders anticipate the return of colorful neotropical migrants — warblers, vireos, orioles and tanagers. Their vibrant colors and melodious songs remind us that another year of warm weather has returned. In the fall we eagerly await the reappearance of migratory birds that ...

There is much waste this time of year, so let’s keep conservation in mind as the holidays are upon us.

Please Practice Conservation Every Day

At the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy, our primary, mission-driven focus is on land conservation. We work to conserve the important areas of Chautauqua County as they relate to wildlife, water quality, and scenic/rural character. While this is critical in order to maintain healthy and ...

A vole.

Snowy Creatures

I scowled as I watched the snowflakes fall outside the window. Yet 15 minutes later, driving through the fat puffs of white, like Han Solo on the Millennium Falcon in hyperdrive, I comment on the beauty of the snow coated branches. Finally, I worry about the trees that still hold their ...