What's Your Nature?

Become a Nature Up North explorer to share your encounters with wild things and wild places in New York's North Country. Post your wildlife sightings, landscape shots, photos from your outings, and even your organization's events!

Encounters

Protecting her babies as I was driving by them.

While out kayaking these two were chasing each other around the lake I thought they were going to fly right into my kayak!

This loon did a nice stretch, I think he wanted to make sure we saw him.

Canoeing we saw this momma loon setting on her nest

Walking through the woods and there was a beautiful little patch of these the sun was shining down on.

While walking in the woods this little chipmunk ran up the tree . It’s hard to see him because when you look up you notice all the leaves starting to pop open with the beautiful sunshine!

Christmas Eve offered the perfect weather for a trek into Moon & Wolf lakes. The ground is frozen, but not enough snow to need snowshoes. The trip is about five miles in total.

Took another hike at Lampson Falls to enjoy fall colors. The chewed beech was new since being there 2 days earlier. The porcupine on the walk out was a bonus - ran into 2 of my advisees right when we saw it. Amazing given my Twitter name is @porcupinedoc. Without diligent Tulip the Labrador there to notice I don’t think any of us would have noticed it. 

Beautiful fall day along the Lampson loop!

Camped in the Huckleberry Lake lean-to overnight and woke up to a calm misty morning on the lake. No other people in sight and you really feel like you're out there after a quick mile or so hike! 

While enjoying a peaceful gorgeous day at Lampsons Falls I saw this little guy sitting beside me in a shallow pool of water. It was like he was my side kick taking in all the beauty around us and the sounds of the falls. He sat there as long as I did. He was still there when I left a few hours later.

While enjoying a beautiful early morning kayak with my cousin on Trout Lake I love looking for turtles and the beauty of the water flowers!

Saw these two beautiful butterflies hanging out in Lampson Falls! Not sure what kind they are though. 

Other than the hungry mosquitos, it was a nice evening to walk along the Oswegatchie River in Edwards.

Although this old farmhouse has long been uninhabited by people, it has been home to several litters of red fox over the past few years.

A dreary day, but still made for a nice spring hike to Huckleberry Lake. Plenty of geese, and even a couple of loons on the lake.

Perfect timing for Hepatica! Thousands of flowers in white, pink and blue.

A frigid and snowy day made it tough, but this is always a favorite hike. A nice fire at the lean-to warmed things up.

A nice Christmas trek along Plum Brook in Russell (Whippoorwill State Forest). Combined with the Lariat trail, it makes a nice 2.8 loop.

A gloomy day, but still a nice day to trek back to Huckleberry Lake. It's between seasons , some snow and the lake has some ice. Not quite winter or fall either. We saw a bald eagle flying in the area, always a treat.

A nice pre-snow hike through some large white pines & hemlocks. Great views of Cold Spring Brook and plenty of beaver activity too.The trail is only a little over a mile and well marked. This would be a nice snowshoe trek as well.

This is a very neat trek.Usually we hike or paddle to our destination- but this time we changed things up. We rode on a horse drawn wagon that runs the 5 miles (each way) to the great camp. It costs $25 each and was well worth it. The trip in is typical Adirondack mixed hardwoods.after about a mile you stop at the farm site to look around the remaining building there. The camp and outbuildings are open for exploring and there are canoes and a kayak in the boathouse free to use. The fellow driving the team(Larry) did a nice informative tour of the grounds.

A nice relaxing hike to Lampson Falls is a great way to get away from college stress.

This is a short (3 mile round trip) hike on the old G&O railroad grade. It starting to look like fall, and the continuous flocks of geese made it sound that way too.

A late evening paddle on the Oswegatchie river in South Edwards. This is always a favorite short paddle of around 3 miles. The trip ended with a pretty great sunset.

Amelia loves to catch frogs and this one was a prize! From nose to toes it was about 2 feet. We studied it and took lots of pictures of this big boy, the released it back into Boyd Pond.

White Trillium are quite spectacular this year! Usually by the time they start turning pink they are pretty beat.

This icy trip to Lampson Falls turned into a memorable first snowshoeing experience for these two young women in the international student program at St. Lawrence - one from Sweden and the other from Finland. Both did an incredible job staying on their feet. Snowshoes or crampons highly recommended to anyone looking to visit the falls, the recent thaw/freeze cycle has made for slippery conditions!

We had a wonderful afternoon hike at Lampson Falls today with our spring crew of Nature Up North interns and research students. The weather was overcast and misty, but temps were in the high 20's and the falls were beautiful. It looks like quite a few people have made it out since last week's snowfall, but snowshoes and crampons helped with wet and slippery conditions, especially around the falls. For a few students, it was their first experience on snowshoes!

The day before was 58 degrees with heavy rain all day, and down to zero by morning. Add in a foot of snow overnight and the Oswegatchie river was as high as it gets in the spring. The water was running at least 6-7 feet above normal, and had already dropped about 18" by the time we were there in the afternoon. There was a pretty big ice jam several hundred yard downstream of the trestle. The water and ice were backed up about 200 yards into the woods from the banks of the river. It was only 2 degrees, but made for a fun and quick snowshoes trek.

We found a wealth of pitcher plants (Sarracenia purpurea) on a recent hike to Moon Lake, in the Wolf Lake state forest in Hermon. I don't know that they are particularly rare, but I have seen more of them this summer than any other time. These were on a bog like point and there were quite a few "patches" to be seen.

We went here to see the fall foliage. The leaves were beautiful and really added to the views on the lake. There were a lot of frogs and quite a few snakes. Most of the snakes were less than a foot (including a green snake!) but they were all too fast to take pictures of. At one point you literally have to climb over a beaver dam so be careful. Very nice day hike.

We were greeted by a shower of bright reds and golds at Lampson Falls today on a Nature Up North hike with St. Lawrence families for Family Weekend. The group also spotted a few downy woodpeckers above the falls. Despite overcast weather, it was a beautiful afternoon!

First swim out at Lampson Falls this weekend. Temps were in the high 80's, and the rocks were cooking - glad we brought towels to sit on! Highly recommend taking a walk down the trail past the falls.

Today the students in the SLU Conservation Biology class, composed of all seniors, took our "final exam" as a hike to the giant beaver dam in the Wolf Lake State Forest. Great way to spend some stress-free time together as a group before all these wonderful folks graduate and get out into the world to make a difference for the environment. I'm always proud of these students, and this year was no exception!

This is the first snapper I've seen this season. He was pretty big too, looking at the leaves on his back will give you an idea of the size. Possibly he just ""woke up" for the year.

Most people have been to Lampson falls, and if not you should go. Easily the most popular and one of the easily accessed waterfalls in the region, and it's on the main branch of the Grasse river.. It's an easy 6/10th mile (each way) trip, and there is wheelchair access to a very nice overlook of the falls. The last part of that section is cribbed in and filled with stone for a easy grade. You can also go to the bottom of the falls, and up onto a stone outcropped facing the falls head-on. I don't know how many times i have been here, but it never get's old.

. Mother nature is quite an artist with only water & temperature as the medium.

Basford falls is located 1.4 miles from the DeGrasse end of the Tooley pond road. It's a pretty easy .7 (round trip) trail to the falls. Once you start down the hill to the falls, you'll go through some awesome white pine trees. Well worth the trip, an even better if you are going to visit the other falls on the road. For more info on these falls visit this link- they have everything you need to get you there. ............. http://www.nnywaterfalls.com/index.htm

This is the part of town referred to as the "island" in Edwards. It was the first part to be settled around 1812, and was on the Russell turnpike .The Russell turnpike was built for use by the military to move troops and supplies between Sackets Harbor and Plattsburgh. The Oswegatchie river splits and made the small island, with a gristmill on the side branch, and a sawmill on the main flow, both powered by water. The gristmill was last used as a private residence until sometime in the early 80s, when it burned.

The Edwards nature trail was donated to the town of Edwards, by the Iroquois natural gas line. It runs on the old New York central railroad bed. The train ran from 1893 until the late 1970s. Interestingly enough,in the distance, the sound of the train whistle running through Richville and Bigelow could be heard today. The trail runs about 1.75 miles southwest to the Talcville road. At about the 1/2 mile mark you cross the main branch of the Oswegatchie river on the old railroad trestle.

Just a short snowshoe trip back to boy scout bay on Trout lake. The trail-head sign says 1 mile, but it was closer to 8/10th according to GPS. We started from the the Cedar Lake Public Forest Access Road/ north shore road, about 1/3rd mile off county rt 19 in Hermon. We had freezing rain for a few hours this morning, but by noon everything was done. Mid 20s and overcast, so not too bad for snowshoeing. It's an easy trail and leads to a picnic area on trout lake (complete with an outhouse).

This isn't the biggest white oak around, and not the oldest. But this tree has been through 2 world wars, a civil war, 37 presidents and the majority of the years that the town (and village) of Edwards has been in existence. I came to know this tree in the late 70s/early 80s. I have hunted, fished and trapped by this tree. Rode bicycles, ATVs, snowmobiles and dirt bikes past it. Camped and hiked under it's branches. I've thought often of what has happened in this tree's lifespan, so I decided to do some research.

It was a a great day for a hike, mid 40's, no wind (but a little overcast). We left from the Ames road parking area,on the blue trail. It's an interesting hike to watch the transgression from abandoned farm land (this was originally the Clark farmstead) to mature forests. There is a particularly interesting section between Moon and Huckleberry, where a stand of large white pine had died from damage (most likely from a recent ice storm) and naturally reclaimed the area with young pines in the 10' range. These have grown in thick, like the proverbial "hair on a dog".

On a mission to collect drone footage of Lampson and fall colors from above, but we took a few from the ground as well.

The foliage was at its peak for this flight! Jake Malcomb and I headed out to shoot the falls and here are some of the best stills we came away with!

Edwards-Knox Central School Trail Camera (On Loan From Nature Up North)

Edwards-Knox Central School Trail Camera (On Loan From Nature Up North)

After a swim at Lampson Falls my sister-in-law went to put on her sandals, when to her surprise a young Northern ringneck snake was sunning itself on top of it. It quickly slithered off and hid in some leaf litter at the base of a rock. Northern ringnecks are not poisonous, and their diets consist of earthworms, insects, salamanders, and frogs.

It was breathtaking, God's work for sure!

This frog has had better days...

I visited the US Fish and Wildlife area just outside of Richville, NY, on the Boland Rd. on May 14th. I drove through the preserve and as I crossed the bridge I saw this Great Blue Heron with a very large bullhead in its mouth. I witnessed the heron spear the fish several times to kill it. I watched the heron try repeatedly to swallow the fish but after around 30 minutes of watching I decided to leave the area and I do not know what happened to the fish or to the heron.

I went out for a short hike with some friends and we stumbled upon the boat and canoe in the middle of the woods. Later on we met the person who put them back there and they said the boat and canoe are for public use, just bring your own paddle. It started snowing heavily after we got there which made for some great photos.

I took a Sunday drive along Tooley Pond Road and came across these unique tracks leading to the water at Basford Falls. I wasn't sure what they were at first but then noticed the paw prints and tail marks and assumed they must be river otter tracks. I followed the slide from the bottom of the falls to the top of the falls where the otter must have exited and re-entered the water. It was pretty neat to see such distinguishable tracks in the winter!

With temperatures fluctuating above and below freezing through the past month of December, Lampson Falls hasn't seen a lot of ice so far this winter! The temperature finally dipped below zero yesterday in Russell and I decided to stop at the falls to check out what they looked like. Here are some of the ice formations starting to grow around Lampson.

This is a picture of an old beaver dam on Massawepie Lake!

Today, students in Vertebrate Natural History at SLU visited some impressive beaver habitat along the Wolf Lake trail. Starting from the southern trailhead and following the "blue" trail on the Nature Up North trail map, we encountered a series of smallish beaver dams along a creek as we hiked toward Moon Lake. At the top of the series of dams is a larger beaver pond with clear signs of current activity. We continued another 100 meters along the trail to the very large (about 7-8' high) beaver dam depicted in the photo with students in front of it.

I went to the Wolf Lake State Forest Beaver Dam with my biology class. It was a beautiful day and the blue sky was reflected perfectly in the water. The most incredible thing, however, was the size of the beaver dam - it must have been at least six feet tall! We explored the edges of the pond, examined the beaver lodge up close, and even saw a beaver! We also heard the beaver slap the water with his tail as a warning. It was a great way to spend a Monday afternoon.

Waking up early, looking out the bedroom window to see a jaw dropping visual gift made me run for my phone to capture this memory. They usually are only there for a minute or so until the light changes.

It was a beautiful day at Lampson Falls to go for a swim with friends. There was blue skies and was about 85F

Walking into Lampson Falls and saw this beautiful leaf on the ground...first color seen down. Beautiful but sad to see summer ending at the same time.

Walking into Lampson Falls saw lots of various Mushrooms. This one looked so fragile.

Enjoying the beautiful walk into Lampson and Nature!

Everyone seemed to be out enjoying the warm summer sun this afternoon, including some unique wildlife. The Nature Up North team ventured out on a scavenger hunt for wildlife with the Massena Boys and Girls Club this afternoon, which yielded some interesting discoveries, such as flowering jewelweed, vibrant damselflies and an unidentified caterpillar.

Walked into Lampson Falls and their were about 40 Lady Slippers along the trail.

I was happy to see these hepatica flowers sprouting from the forest floor near the Downerville State Forest trailhead. There was significant variation in color within a single patch. A true sign of spring!

As I stated in another post, we trekked around Lampson Falls one day and I stopped to take this picture of the frozen falls in the winter. I think it gives a neat perspective, from a diagonal view. The Lampson Falls trail provides a nice, relatively easy nature walk along in a soft-wooded habitat. Once arriving at the falls, one can swim, canoe, fish, and even white-water kayak. Located in the Grass River Forest, in the St. Lawrence Country, in a town called Clare, Lampson is a .6 mile walk until arrival at the falls.

Type: Animal Sign
Habitat Description: Forested Waterfalls/River

Natural History Info: While not conclusively a trail of porcupine tracks, the depressions in the snow surrounding the footprints would suggest some low-rising mammal. Given that we saw porcupines in the surrounding area, it would make sense for these tracks to belong to a porcupine.

What drew my attention: We were trying to track a porcupine, so this was a really neat find.

Lampson Falls in an officially named waterfall on the USGS GNIS data base. The falls about about 40 ft high and 100 ft wide. The area is a genuine, natural beauty. I chose this photo because it's a great example of a porcupine track. Porcupines often use the same trail to move in the same direction, so the tracks look like tunnels. Because they travel on the same path it is common to see urine and pieces of hemlock branches (the porcupine's favorite food!) scattered along the trail.

While snowshoeing near one of the most popular waterfalls in St. Lawrence County, I took a close up shot of this cottontail rabbit hopping through the snow. I thought that this rabbit left a pretty noticeable imprint. But I remember that the track were spread out far apart and it seemed a little rushed, so it could have been avoiding a predator. Most likely it was a coyote because I do recall seeing coyote tracks that day as well. Hope this little bunny got away safely!

Type: Animal sign. Habitat description: mixed hardwood forest. Natural history information: Snowshoe Hares have a very large surface are on their hind feet, which allows them to stay on top of the snow without sinking in. As a camouflage adaptation, their fur turns white in the winter and a brownish color during the summer. As they move, they plant their smaller front feet and bring their large pack feet in front of them in order to propel their movement. I like this photo because they are very distinctive snowshoe hare tracks based on the size ratio of the front and back feet.

During our adventure in Lampson Falls for our lab on February 18th, we saw many animal tracks. Deep within the softwood forest, I saw white-tailed deer tracks scattered around. This pair of animal tracks stuck out to me in particular because it was crisp and seemed to be relatively fresh tracks in the snow. I wondered if the deer had just passed through before us five minutes earlier. White-tailed deer are a medium-sized deer located in the United States, Canada, and in Central and South America.

Type: Landscape
Habitat Description: Snowy Woodland

Natural History Info: This thawed, flowing body of water is still moving despite the rest of its surroundings being completely frozen. This is possible because a larger body of water will take more time and require colder temperatures to freeze completely. This contrasts to the surrounding snow that fell from the atmosphere above, as the water/snow particles are quite small as they fall and thus can more easily freeze.

This was a fun trip to Lampson Falls. As part of our nature walk we spent a good amount of time looking for porcupines and their dens. We spotted a lone porcupine up about 35 feet in a hemlock tree, their favorite snack. Hemlock branches were scattered everywhere along the ground as well, good sign that porcupines were in the area. As I was looking for more I came across what appears to be an old den. There was nothing inside, but it was full of droppings from its previous occupant. A really nice shot of a winter hideout!

It was a brisk but beautiful morning to explore Lampson Falls in early winter. The falls had not frozen over fully yet and to my surprise, the conditions were just right to form "pancake ice," which are small patches of floating ice that look a lot like round pancakes!

This Picture was taken in the Adirondacks near Degrasse, NY. This nice looking bear looks like he was posing for the camera. These animals are always on the move so I was excited to see he stood long enough to get a decent picture of him.

Taking a fall drive on the Coffee Road near Trout Lake, there is a small pond area that was on fire with color. What a beautiful scene to encounter. One of the many reasons I love to take long, slow drives on seasonal use roads!

Very foggy summer morning with promise of a sunny and warm day.

As I was biking around at Downerville State Forest I heard a loud rustling sound only to be met at eye level with this guy. Must've scared him a bit since he scurried all the way up the tree, about 50 ft. or so.

This a picture of the water moving in Lampson Falls; I liked this picture because you can really see how flooded the river is right now; when I took the picture I was standing as close to the falls as possible. Lampson Falls is one of the most frequently visited falls in the North Country. These falls are an estimated 40 feet tall and 100 feet wide. These falls can be described as shallow and broad faced; during the spring there is a high volume of water caused by melting snow.

The dogs found it first. When we caught up to them, we saw two distinct beds of fur strewn across the ground. There were no blood or bones we could see. It simply appeared an animal stood in one spot, was shaved, and left behind the extra fur. It was quite awesome.

A build up of ice and snow at Lampson Falls has created the potential for flooding, but also quality recreation. As temperatures begin to rise, the Grasse River does as well; bringing numerous kayaking and rafting fanatics to the area. These individuals will bring their business to the surrounding area making this now frozen falls a beneficial attraction. This ice buildup, therefore, is advantageous for the recreation that it will bring in the spring.

Rabbit Run
Taken February 26th at Lampson Falls in Canton, NY

Type: Animal Track
Habitat Description: Forest / River
Natural History: Lampson Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in St. Lawrence county. The falls are an impressive 40 feet tall and 100 feet wide. At the bottom of the falls a small beach has formed. The photo of the animal tracks were taken down the trail towards the falls after a fresh snow.
Interest: I was drawn to this image because the clarity of the tracks in the light versus other animals tracks spotted on the walk down to the falls.

Movement Photo: This picture was taken on February 26th, 2014 on a field trip in Lampsons Falls. This waterfall is the most popular in the St. Lawrence County because of how big it is. On my field trip we walked right along side to the waterfall, which was a very cool experience. Lampsons Falls is about 40 feet tall and 100 feet wide. Grass River Wild Forest is a trail that leads you to this wonderful waterfall. The thing I found most interesting about this photo is the large amount of water rushing over the Falls. This photo really captures the movement of this beautiful waterfall.

This photo depicts movement of water as it descends in a waterfall from higher to lower elevation. These falls are 40 ft tall and 100 ft wide. In this specific photo, taken in mid-February, much of the water was still frozen, but there was still large amounts of water flowing. These falls were most likely formed as a result of water flowing over different layers of rocks which have different erosion patterns. Over time the earth underneath the water gets steeper and steeper until, eventually, a falling out may occur (which causes the drop).

This is a photo of I took on February 24th, 2014 while hiking at Lampson Falls of a Beech tree.

Habitat Description: This photo was taken while hiking on a trail near Lampson Falls. There was adequate snow coverage on the ground (aprox. 3 feet) and the temperature was around 20 degrees Fahrenheit. I found this tree just off the path of the trail and any other trees did not surround this beech tree.

This is a photo I took on February 24th, 2014 while hiking a trail near Lampson Falls of a dog print I found in the snow.

Habitat Description: This photo was taken on a hiking trail that followed the Grasse River. The weather was approximately 20 degrees Fahrenheit. There was substantial snow coverage and I estimated that the snow coverage of the trail was somewhere around 3 feet.

This is a wintery image taken during a hike at Lampson Falls in St. Lawrence county. Porcupines, otters and other small animals are found in the area surrounding the falls, making it a rich environment. The falls are part of the Adirondak park, surrounded by forest, so much of the trees found in the area are of the coniferous and hardword variety. The falls drop is an impressive 100 feet that roars even throughout the coldest of winters. Beaches along the bottom of the falls has created lots of recreation possibilities for its visitors.

This is a photo of I took on February 22nd, 2014 while hiking at Lampson Falls of the waterfall itself.

Habitat Description: This photo was taken at the top of Lampson Falls during the winter months. The Falls was frozen over, but there were some parts of the waterfall that were unfrozen. The waterfall was very rocky, and it flowed into a deep pool below that was frozen over.

CLOSE UP 2: This was another picture of the perfect, wet, snowball snow at Lampson Falls. This was taken in the wooded area on the path to the actual falls. I liked how precariously this snowball was balancing on this tall stump. It reminded me of Andy Goldsworthy's work creating beautiful, impossible sculptures out of natural materials.

CLOSE UP: This picture was taken on our class trip to Lampson Falls. We went there to do some tracking, but there wasn't any fresh snow so it was a little bit difficult. There were a lot of signs of porcupines - though we didn't see one. We learned that the primary (land) predator of a porcupine is a fisher which goes for the part of the porcupine without quills (its face). Because there was no fresh snow and it had rained earlier in the week, this mini snowman was still in perfect form though it looks like the rain took away part of it.

Deciduous Forrest
The forest area near Lampson Falls has been created over many years of of the bank area that has been shaped by the winding Grass river. The forests haven’t changed much in the area for hundreds of years. The landscape was most influenced by glacial recession from the last ice age. This photo is neat because I have never seen a wood pecker or its markings all my life, and I still want to see one. Seeing its handiwork and the effect it has on a tree is quite neat.

It was the most beautiful winter day, blue skies with temperatures that were just on the edge of melting. Snow had freshly fallen during the night. I was out around noon and had to run for my camera and start taking pictures. The snow on the branches soon started to melt and fall to the ground. The scenery did not last long.

While hiking toward the huge beaver dam at Wolf Lake State Forest, Jake and I found this log that had been stuffed full of some kind of fruit. This is likely the cache of an animal that was storing the fruit for later eating. The tree in which the fruit was stashed had fallen, and a trail crew had cut through it with a chain saw, revealing this pile of old seeds.

If you would like to witness the impressive ability of beavers to structure a forest community, take a hike at Wolf Lake State Forest. There is a very significant beaver dam that has been there for years. As you hike, you approach from below the dam, walking across the dam outlet and slowing going up hill until first your eyes are level with the water and then you find yourself standing on the shore of the beaver pond. Very impressive (not to mention beautiful) spot.

On Saturday April 27th Nature Up North led a hike out at Wolf Lake State forest. We had a small group but it was a great hike. The day was overcast but warm and we found out quickly that the black flies have made their spring return to the North Country! We made our first stop at an amazing beaver dam about 1.5 miles into the hike where we paused to have a quick lunch (in between swatting black flies). We heard a pileated woodpecker and northern flicker while we were stopped, and saw a heron.

Fall brings this area brilliant colors on the trees, and this morning I was treated to brilliant colors in the sky that faded very soon after this was shot.

The flying squirrels have been "flying" in from the woodlot across the road daily to feast on the sunflower seeds in our homemade bird feeder. They have become accustomed to us and allow us to sit on the front stoop to observe their antics. It is so enjoyable to watch them glide onto the tree, then scurry up and down.