Nature

Spring Dreams

March is a time for dreaming. It is the in-between time that is not quite spring, though some days feel like it, and not quite winter, though many days feel like that as well. It is a time when the world is transitioning from one season to the next, seesawing between winter and spring on an ...

Wildlife News Briefs

The Wildlife Society (an international organization of professionals trained in wildlife science, management, and conservation), recently released some short summaries of wildlife research that provide food for thought. ¯ When shale gas development began in 2008 in West Virginia, ...

On Building A Cocoonery

There is a somewhat misshapen box with a wide mesh front that is sitting on my dining room floor. It is put together with screws and nails and staples that reflect my son’s interest in pounding or drilling more than any real purpose or planning. Inside the box are three brown packages. Two ...

Winter Birds

On Saturday, I noticed a pile of black oil sunflower seeds in the nature play area at Audubon. I don’t know who put it there or why. Arriving on Sunday to lead a program in that space, I assumed the pile would be gone. Certainly, deer would have lapped up this unexpected treat overnight. ...

Meet Rita Poe

I did not know Rita Poe, but after reading a June 2017 press release from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service it seems that few people did. She died on Nov. 16, 2015, in her 27-ft. Airstream travel trailer parked in the shadow of the Olympic Mountains. She was 66. Rita had few friends and no ...

The March Skies

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” — Marie Curie As the month of March opens, the planet Mercury can be seen very close to much ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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, ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...