Nature

‘Tis the Season — But Not For Long

After a seven year hiatus, I am a dog walker again. I lost my beautiful yellow labs, Misty and Reilly, in 2010 and 2011 respectively, and emotionally I haven’t been ready to get another dog. But low and behold, today, I find myself babysitting and walking my granddog, Rueben, to help out my ...

Beyond Birds

The name “Audubon” often brings about visions of birdwatchers, those people who inexplicably grab their binoculars and start searching for things with wings. The Audubon Community Nature Center is much more than that. It is a place where classes on plants, gardening, wild edibles, ...

When Litter Kills

A few days ago a post on the Pennsylvania birding list serve caught my eye. It read: Late this afternoon I decided to take one last walk down to the creek at the back of the yard. There I spotted a female Baltimore Oriole dangling from a tree branch struggling to free itself from a tangle of ...

The Ticking Woods

Nature has been a refuge for me my whole life. When I was a child, the fields behind the house were the place where I went to thing when things were going wrong. Many problems were worked out in between sweeping tall goldenrods and under the spreading branches of apple trees. As I grew older, ...

Plant Trees For Multiple Benefits

Spring is finally here! As we begin thinking about landscaping our yards, consider adding more trees and shrubs to your yard, especially native trees and shrubs. Trees and shrubs add beauty, comfort and value to your yard. They provide homes and food for a variety of wildlife. Evergreens placed ...

Another Harbinger Of Happiness

Like its cousin, the female of this species is quite undistinguished. “Drab,” Sibley calls her. He’s right. Even sparrows have more markings to distinguish them than do these little girls. The size is the same: common, average: call it five and a quarter inches. Hear Peterson: ...

Willows

When I was little, I discovered the Flower Fairies. This seemed to be the perfect combination of fantasy and nature, and I was hooked. Still am, actually. I had a figurine of the Beech Fairy that hung from window. Still do. And a calendar of the fairies. And postcards. And a book. All of which ...

Meet The Blackbirds

Sometimes bird names can be confusing. For example, not all blue birds are bluebirds. Indigo buntings and blue jays are blue birds, but they are not bluebirds like the beloved cavity-nesting eastern bluebird. Similarly, not all blackbirds are black. Red-winged blackbirds and brightly colored ...

Waterway To ‘The Beautiful River’

It’s a short river, not more than eight miles from the south end of Chautauqua Lake where it begins to the Levant juncture with Cassadaga Creek, but a mighty one, historically speaking. Without this tough, resilient river, the town of Jamestown may never have been built. For it was the ...

Ponderings On Earth Day, Ethics And The Precautionary Principle

As I write this, it’s Earth Day, a time of reflection and celebration of our precious planet and its many gifts. Over the past two months, many of us have participated in GreenUp Jamestown Coalition’s series of collaborative, educational, and inspirational events, the brainchild of James ...

Nature Finds A Way

“The earth laughs in flowers” according to a line in a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson. That is a sentiment that is easy to understand. Flowers can certainly bring joy to people. It was evident on a recent hike on an old rail bed that runs from Riverside Road to Warren that people were ...

The May Skies

“Do not look at stars as bright spots only. Try to take in the vastness of the universe.” Maria Mitchell, Astronomer The tiny planet Mercury is positioned too close to the glare of the sun to be visible from Earth during May. It will ...

USDA Wildlife Services?

Last week a reader wrote, “Scott, I recently read a report that said the federal government killed 624,845 red-winged blackbirds, 357 gray wolves, and 69,041 adult coyotes last year.” That can’t be true, can it?” Sadly, it is. According to its website (aphis.usda.gov), the USDA’s ...

Dutch Hollow Creek Water Quality Improvement Projects Move Forward

On a wet and muddy day at the tail end of March, prospective contractors toured two eroded streambank locations on Dutch Hollow Creek, a sub-watershed in the Town of Ellery that drains to Chautauqua Lake’s southern basin. This activity was a key step toward the completion of a pair of New ...

Neighborhood Nature

I recently visited several of Utah’s National Parks — Capital Reef, Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce and Zion. I know I will not do them justice in the few words here. In short, they were extraordinary in their grandeur and their uniqueness, especially compared to the eastern habitats that I’m ...

Earth Day: 2018

On April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day, 20 million Americans launched the modern environmental movement. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in 1962 sowed the seeds that triggered a national environmental consciousness. Today, 48 years later, we stand on the threshold of environmental disaster. ...

State Algae Summit Report

I was fortunate to represent the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy at the New York State Harmful Algae Bloom (HAB) Summit for Chautauqua, Conesus and Honeoye Lakes held in Rochester on March 26 along with several other area agency representatives. CWC Conservationist Claire Quadri was also in ...

April Can Fool You

There has been a lot of grumbling about the weather this month, though I cannot say if it is really any more or less than usual. The temperatures go up, it gets sunny and we get lulled into a false sense that spring is here. Next morning, we’re scraping frost or brushing a few inches of snow ...

Time To Learn A Few Bird Songs

Each week a new group of birds passes through the yard as they wing their way north. Some stay to nest, while others continue their journey. So far, I’ve welcomed killdeer, woodcock, phoebes, field sparrows, chipping sparrows, and purple finches. They are familiar old friends. I recognized ...

Protecting The Preserves

Over the years, I have listened to people complain about land being designated as preserves and coming off the tax rolls. They feel they are being hurt financially because now they must shoulder more of the tax burden. When land is deemed tax exempt, those tax revenues disappear, but the bills ...