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

 

Blue cohosh in flower Wild leeks Early spring beauty Wet dog

The Clarksboro Trail- Claire NY
I have been trying to get to the Clarksboro Trail since early summer. I had someone ask about the trail, and I’d never heard of it. After a little research, I found that it is a fairly new trail on the 51,950-acre Grasse River Easement Tract. The trailhead is on the north side of the Tooley Pond Road, 2.6-miles from Rt 27 in DeGrasse. The trailhead is marked and starts at gate #1 on an old logging road.

Beautiful sunsets beautiful place 

Part of a rainbow in a pink sky in a field, with a tree in the foreground Sunset in a field with a yellow full moon

Walking through the woods and came across the site sign of Spring...pussywillows!

It was a beautiful day for an adventure! The 20°F weather felt unusually warm in the sun after all of the cold temps we have had. I snowshoed from Rt. 47 along the Grasse River to the hydro plant and back. The snow depth was quite variable and had drifted up to knee-height in places. Snowshoes were helpful but the snow was too dry to stay on top of it. Gaiters would be a nice addition next time.

It’s that time of year when it sounds like machine guns going off at my sisters camp. She has a metal roof and when these fall it sounds like Gun shots going off.

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!

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

My first up-close owl!

Lots of snow at Higley Flow! Always nice to feel so far from campus with just a short drive, and the trails were in great shape. Caught a glimpse of the sunset too. 

Driving up CR 27 toward Canton, I saw two bald eagles sitting in a mowed field along with several crows and ravens. Perhaps they were at a gut pile?  The smaller birds began to harass the eagles who took flight. One landed on a nearby power pole where it was dive-bombed a few times. The other was harassed in flight, eventually landing back on the ground. The bad pictures from my phone don’t do the observation justice. 

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!

Saw this nice little garter snake while walking in the woods 

I was looking for some great Calendar Contest photos when I found this dragonfly and quickly pulled out my camera to get some photos.

I was looking for good photos for the Calendar Contest when I thought to take some pictures of a pond nearby. I think this was the best out of the ones I took.

My grandmother invited me to her house to get pictures of what she calls the "perfect Elm."

I was taking a break from photography to get a drink and I looked up, realizing that the perfect picture is something we look at every day.

I wanted to play with depth perception while I had the chance with some hay bales!

I love taking pictures of our garden because you really get to take in the beauty of it all when you truly look into it.

I found a tree that was partly hollowed out and stuck my camera in there.

My dad was once very ambitious and decided to carve an owl out of a stump. Surprisingly, it went very well and we also have a carved mushroom in our lawn!

I love eating fresh blueberries straight off the bush and it tastes so much better than storebought ones.

We had a wonderful Garlic Festival this year at Birdsfoot farm, with many friends and community members stopping by to help peel and bunch our garlic harvest. The garlic crop was late this year by nearly two weeks due to the spring/summer rains, and there was some concern over getting all the garlic in and harvested. All worked out in the end though, and we're looking forward to garlic all winter, as are many happy CSA members!

Ther is a half-mile trail from the gate to the pond. I did a bushwhack around the pond and ended up with a two-mile round trip hike. It is easy up until the bushwhacking, then it gets tough. Just before the pond is a maple tree that had been struck by lightning and burned out from the inside, but left the outer wood living. It was plenty big enough for me to fit inside with my pack.

Red Dragonfly at Hart's Falls. 

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.

Some of the summer flowers blooming today 

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

Found this baby turtle (I think it's a painted turtle) in my driveway. Moved it so my chickens/cats/dogs wouldn't get him. It was the second one I found (unless it's the same one!)

Enjoyed a nice walk to Harper's Falls this morning.  Lots of wildflowers!  Too many for one encounter, so I'm posting a second one as well!

Second post of flowers from my lovely hike at Harper's falls this morning.

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.

This is a great short hike that is usually pretty secluded. With a dozen cars at Lampson falls that day, this was perfect.

I was out herping and flipping rotting logs when I found this Red-backed salamander under one. The day was about 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but felt a little colder because of cloudiness and a slight breeze. I was on one of the trails at Highley Flow State Park with a bunch of classmates for lab.

During our Herpetology trip to Higley Flow, I found several wood frog egg masses in a marsh next to the beaver pond. These eggs are about 1 week from hatching, and I could see the developing tadpoles moving around. The weather was a bit chilly (about 50F) and cloudy.

On my last herping trip for my herpetology class we went to the glenmeal state forest to try to find evidence of herps in an evergreen forest rather than a deciduous forest. We didn't have much luck at first compared to a deciduous forest. After about an hour of walking through the woods I found this red-backed salamander (plethoden cinerus) in underneath a log.

It was a cool, mostly cloudy day and I went to Higley Flow State Park with my herpetology class. I flipped over a large, decomposing log and found this adult spotted salamander. It was a female who had already laid her eggs.

Found this small spotted salamander underneath a piece of old firewood at Higley Flow State Park during a herpetology class field trip. It was very active and quickly returned to hiding under its log. Someone else found a second one of similar size in the same area under a different log.

The day was overcast, with some spotty sunshine. The temperature was about 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and I found this Red-backed salamander under a rotting log while herping with some classmates at Highley Flow State Park.

While out on my last trip for my herpetology class to the Higely Flow State Forest I found this small spotted salamander underneath a log. The log was cut into pieces by a chainsaw, and other pieces of the entire tree were scattered in the area. This tiny spotted salamander didn't move much when I first picked it up but after more people gathered to see, it started walking around my hand. It moved very slow, so my herping partner Sam decided to name it Wheels. No more than 10 feet away from wheels underneath a similar log was another tiny spotted salamander too!

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

On this beautiful spring day my herpetology class went out searching for vernal pools containing herp eggs and spermatophores. We found several vernal pools that had some! We found this cluster of spotted salamander eggs in the second vernal pool we stumbled upon. I identified them as spotted salamander eggs because of they were attached to a twig, and their milky-white coloration. They also held their shape when lifted out of the water.

I was outside at Glenmeal State Forest for lab with my Herpetology class this past Monday, checking out vernal pools. The day was clear, sunny, and about 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Upon flipping many logs, I was finding many Red-backed Salamanders, and this little fellow was underneath a rotting one.

My herpetology class went out searching for herps in the glenmeal state forest on a wonderful warm and sunny afternoon for lab. Towards the end of the lab around 3:00 we started to search for dusky salamanders in a fast-moving steam.

My herpetology class went to Glenmeal State Forest to look for some herps and egg masses. While looking in a vernal pool, I found this spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) egg mass connected to a branch in the water.

I was out herping on this wonderful Monday with my class at Glenmeal State Forest, and I found lots of these. The first picture shows the log I found the salamander under. It was one of the first I picked up!

It was a warm sunny day and my herpetology class traveled to Glenmeal State Forest to look for herp and egg masses. Under a rock on the edge of a small, fast moving stream I found this dusky salamander.

A green frog (Rana clamitans, adult) found in a small stream at Glenmeal. Wasn't thrilled to be having its photo taken. This green frog appeared to be a female, as she lacked large nuptial pads.

Warm sunny day in Glenmean State Forest, Pierrepont, NY. This salamander was found underneath a decomposing log.

During our Herpetology lab, I found this salamander under a log in the moist soil and litter. This individual was one of the larger red-backs I've found.

While out trying to find some salamanders that prefer to live in fast moving streams in my herpetology class I found this little crayfish. Surprisingly the little guy didn't pinch me, but was not happy at all to be out of the water. I named it Mr. Pinchy.

Another Herpetology lab find in Glenmeal State Forest -- spotted salamander eggs in a vernal pool. All of these eggs were laid by a single salamander -- they were just the size of the black dots you can see in the picture. Their jelly-like coating then absorbed water and expanded to nearly the size of my hand, in order to protect the eggs and keep them hydrated.

I found this green frog on a field trip with my herpetology class. It was is a very small, temporary stream where we were looking for salamanders. The frog was fairly small and had pretty dull colors

I went out "herping" with my herpetology class, looking for salamander and frog eggs. I was moving around leaves by a vernal pool and caught a red-backed salamander. Unfortunately, it jumped out of my hand and swam away, but I got to hold it for a few seconds!

This salamander I felt like I wasn't even looking for! Usually I look for larger logs, but I just happened to pick up this stick and it was there. This one is also cool because it shows how dark the sides of the salamander can be.

On Monday in my herpetology class at Glenmeal state forest I found this eastern redback salamander (Plethodon cinerus) under a small rotting log.

Found this red-backed salamander (Plethodon cinereus, adult) in Glenmeal State Forest, under a log.

This was not my personal encounter, but I am grateful to have permission to share. Students from the Sustainability Program located this lovely wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta) near the small river at the farm, they were unsure of the identifiation but didn’t want to disturb it as they thought it may be nesting. They did get this awesome photo and you can clearly see the highly sculpted shell that is characteristic of Wood Turtles.

Warm sunny day in Glenmeal State Forest, Pierrepont, NY. One of three spotted salamander egg masses that I found in this vernal pool.

This Spring Peeper was found in Glenmeal State Forest in the town of Pierrepont. It was swimming in a small temporary pool on the remnants of an old logging road. It was a warm, sunny afternoon.

On this beautiful spring day my herpetology class went out searching for vernal pools containing herp eggs and spermatophores. While walking between vernal pools we searched underneath some forest debris for salamanders. I flipped a log and found this slow-moving red-backed salamander next to a vernal pool.

While going out to Glenmeal State Forest for with my Herpetology class for lab this past Monday, we were collecting data and counts for Spotted Salamander eggs, Wood Frog eggs, and Jefferson/Blue-spotted Salamander Complex eggs. Here is an egg mass of Spotted Salamander eggs

My herpetology class went to Glenmeal State Forest to look for some herps. While looking for salamanders next to a vernal pool, I flipped over some leaves and found an eastern newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) in the eft stage.

This was my second salamander of the day. I found it just around where I found my first one, but I made sure to put it back under exactly where I found it because Red-backed salamanders can be territorial. As you can sort of see from the picture, it was a beautiful sunny day!

On Monday, my herpetology class went to Glenmeal State forest to look for some herps. I found these two spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) egg masses in a vernal pool with many others.

Visited Glenmeal State Forest for Herpetology lab where we were recording the number of egg masses at each vernal pool. Spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) eggs are recognizable by their smooth, uniform jelly shell! This compares to frog eggs in which each egg is individually covered and creates a bumpy appearance.

One thing I’m curious about are the small flecks of red located in the membrane of the coating. A potential egg predator?

A pickerel frog (Rana palustris, adult) found next to a fast moving stream at Glenmeal. Pickerel frog are easily confused with southern leopard frogs (Rana sphenocephala), but pickerel have more rectangular/squared spots.

Warm, sunny day. Another red-backed salamander found in Glenmeal State Forest on this day. Found underneath a decomposing log.

Happy Earth Day!  The red maples are in full bloom - it is easy to forget that some of our trees are flowering plants - they flower before they leaf out, which presumably give the wind-dispersed pollen a chance to move more easily.  Very lovely.

On this beautiful spring day my herpetology class went out searching for vernal pools and herps. We found this vernal pool inside the Glenmeal State Forest in a vernal pool created by tire ruts in a trail. I identified these as spotted salamander eggs because they held their shape out of water, were attached to a twig in the water, and were laid communally. The outer casing was milky-white colored also.

I was outside for lab with my Herpetology class at Glenmeal State Forest this past Monday. The day was clear, sunny, and about 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Upon flipping many logs, this Red-backed Salamander was underneath a rotting one.

My herpetology class went out searching for herps in the glenmeal state forest on a wonderful warm and sunny afternoon for lab. Towards the end of the lab around 3:00 we started to search for dusky salamanders in a fast-moving steam. I lifted up a rock in the steam and saw this little guy swim away downstream. I just barely caught it so I could get a picture. I identified it as a dusky salamander (desmognathus fuscus) because it matched the coloration of a dusky salamander and it had a naso-labial groove that could aid in smelling.

My herpetology class went to Glenmeal State Forest to look for some herps. While at a vernal pool, I came across a red-backed salamander (Plethodon cinereus) nestled in the leaf litter next to the water.

It was a warm sunny day and my herpetology class traveled to Glenmeal State Forest to look for herp and egg masses. I found this red-backed salamander under a log near a vernal pool.

Another red-backed salamander (Plethodon cinereus, adult) found at Glenmeal, also under a log! Tried to avoid handing directly with my skin because I wasn't wearing gloves - soaps/lotions from our hands can really hurt their delicate skin - they perform cutaneous respiration.

While at Glenmeal State Forest with my Herpetology class I was surprised to encounter a floating redback salamander (Plethodon cinereus) dead in the second vernal pool we examined. This little guy was out of place as Redbacks do not reproduce using vernal pools but instead lay eggs in rotting logs or stumps which undergo direct development and hatch into mini-adults! So it is curious how this one ended up in this pool. Is it common for them to fall in and freeze in early spring?

Warm sunny day in Glenmeal State Forest, Pierrepont, NY. One of three spotted salamander egg masses that I found in this vernal pool.

During our Herpetology lab, I was looking under some leaf litter and found this beautiful Eastern newt! This lovely specimen was no more than 3 cm long, and has the bright orange/red coloring of the eft stage.

On this beautiful spring day my herpetology class went out searching for vernal pools containing herp eggs and spermatophores. While walking between vernal pools we searched underneath forest debris for salamanders. I flipped over a log and found this beautiful spotted salamander. It was around 4 inches long and seemed very tired because it didn't move much when I lifted the log it was underneath.

The Herpetology class went exploring in Glenmeal State Forest for lab today, and we found a wide variety of salamanders, frogs, and egg masses. Here's an eastern red-backed salamander (Plethodon cinereus) who was under a mossy log near an intermittent stream. There were actually two red-backs under the same log, within an inch of each other, which is surprising given that this species is usually territorial.

This was my third Red-backed of the day, and I really liked the coloration on this one. The red seems really bright compared to others I have found. The pictures show what it might look like right when you turn over the log and get surprised to find a salamander!

On Monday, in my herpetology class, I found this wood frog (Rana sylvatica) egg mass in a vernal pool along with a few others at Glenmeal State Forest. Typically there are many more wood frog egg masses in this particular vernal pool by this point in the season, so hopefully more will be there soon!

At Glenmeal State Forest, my herpetology class was shown a small, fast-flowing brook that was ideal habitat for Dusky Salamanders (Desmognathus fuscus). However, finding them was a challenge because not only are Dusky Salamanders well camouflaged but excellent escape artists. This was the first time I have ever held one.

Warm sunny day in Glenmeal State Forest, Pierrepont, NY. One of three spotted salamander egg masses that I found in this vernal pool.

I went home for Easter Sunday since I am a local student and spent some time on my back porch since it was so nice out. There's a little marshy area in my side yard and I could hear the spring peepers peeping!

Enjoyed a calm walk in the woods after a light spring rain. Pleasantly surprised to see ramps (wild leeks) starting to come 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.

Snowflake, heaven, and summer storm.

Though further south in the Adirondacks there has been some "snow that sticks", these are first real flurries this morning, and the snow really shows up on the thin layer of ice forming on this beaver pond.

I found this tiny snake with the help of some students during a visit to the Forest School at Stone Hill Farm. After some research, I believe he or she is either a juvenile Northern Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi) or a juvenile Northern Redbelly Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata). 

I came across this huge common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) attempting to cross County Route 25. Another concerned motorist pulled over too, and together we used long sticks to coax her/him across the highway in the direction she was facing. While we were successful, snappers are dangerous to move - sticks and/or shovels have worked for me, but I generally recommend staying on the side of caution. 

I enjoyed a visit to The Forest School at Stone Hill Farm for the new school's October Family Day / Home School Day. It was a beautiful, 70 degree fall day, and we spent the morning in the woods with families and the schools co-founders, Tasha Akins and Megan Holloway letting the kids discover what the forest had to offer. Highlights included playing in the stream, finding a huge snapping turtle, and collecting fall leaves for a color wheel activity. 

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

Posting on behalf of Brianna, age 8, who took this photo using my iPhone. This was a very large snail that we found in the woods at Higley Flow State Park when camping in September.

Found this in our back yard, almost stepped on it. Grand daughter and I were both barefoot. Ouch, moved it to a location futher away from our house.

Just relaxing in our nature friendly back yard.

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.

My family tried to beat the heat on a hot August Sunday with a trip down the Tooley Pond Road to check out the waterfalls. We didn’t make it past Twin Falls because it was such a beautiful and interesting spot, and it was nice and cool in the waterfalls’ floor bottom. Evidence of the area’s past abounds, and the main falls are quite impressive.

I'm glad that I let the milkweed grow this year!

Found a number of these little guys on the Black-eyed-susans.

I set my camera up to take 30 second exposures with a 3 second break between each. It shot 345 time exposures which I combined as layers in Photoshop to get this image. The center of the circle is Polaris, the North Star.

Greeted by sunning frogs and a gushing waterfall, the day was a perfect one to carry out water monitoring procedures along the Grasse River. The team waded into clear water about a foot deep to determine water quality using a number of chemical and physical testing methods. After an hour of sorting through dozens of macroinvertebrates including caddisflies, riffle beetles, and mayflies to analyze species ratios of varying tolerances, the water quality of Hart's Falls is looking good!

Took a quick morning jaunt at Harper's falls to see what is blooming.  Nice hike, nice day.

Another gorgeous day in the NoCo and I'm trying, somewhat irregularly, to keep track of the onset of wildflowers. Didn't have much time today, but saw foam flower and I *think* wild strawberry.  Hazards of photography with a lab: ki might stick a nose in the photo - gotta be quick!

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

After being out of town for a week, I see that spring sprung while I was gone!  This assortment of flowers was up to greet me this morning - as well as some purple violets.  Leaves are out, and spring is here with a vengence!  My maples have fully unfurled leaves, Amelanchior is flowering, and the redbud tree I planted in my yard did not die over the winter (not so sure I can say the same for the flowering dogwood).  After a very long winter, these signs of spring are welcome!

I was preparing to go to work when I saw my cat Billie interacting with a porcupine. They looked at each other and went their seperate ways.

While passing through the area on Sunday, I went for a lovely afternoon hike to Harper Falls with a couple of friends, including Emlyn from Nature Up North. As we made our way toward the falls, we admired an abundance of spring ephemerals, including trout lilies, ramps, red trilliums, and some others that I couldn't identify. It's hard to believe that I never knew about this beautiful trail in the four years I went to school at SLU!

Strange strange "spring" we're having but beautiful nonetheless.  Woke this morning to more fresh snow to sit on top of the ice storm results from the past weekend.  While I'm really ready for flowers, the snow is lovely.

I saw geese returning for the first time this season early this morning, in a group of 20-30. Seems early, but with recent weather they should find plenty of open water.

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!

A lovely afternoon skiing with a friend at Higley Flow State Park. Enough snow finally to ski in the woods! 

Walking in my neighbor's fields and stumbled upon some beautiful seeds and animal signs. Usually I'd be skiing this time of year, and it's strange to see the bare ground.

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!

Driving into the Buckhorn Club after a snowy night. It was picture perfect!

Have you ever attended a nature walk that included tree hugging, candy and a human-sized emerald ash borer? Thanks to the nine students participating in the St. Lawrence Sustainability Program this fall, 20 girl scouts from the Canton and Hermon-deKalb have. This nature-based lesson took place at the Sustainability Farm and focused on teaching the girl scouts about sustainability, invasive species, and the carbon cycle. The event closed with a crackling campfire; a fun way to celebrate the carbon that helps keep us warm through long North Country winters. 

Had a great time exploring the Downerville State Forest trails with a friend (and a few pups) this past weekend. The weather continues to be unseasonably warm, but we weren't complaining and the dogs enjoyed splashing around in Harper's Falls. The beech leaves are still hanging on, but most of the others have fallen by now and the open forest was a beautiful sight.

A beautiful view of Stowe Bay on the Raquette River

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!

Last night was the first hard frost at my house in Canton and at camp in Pierrepont.  Layer of ice on the windshield and beautiful ice crystals outlining so many things.  Lovely.

More than 25 students and community members came out to the St. Lawrence Sustainability Site on Saturday Sep. 30th to spend the afternoon discovering the various flora, fauna and fungi present on the 33.5 acre farm. The afternoon's back-to-back naturalist walks included a wild edible plant walk with Paul Hetzler (Cornell Cooperative Extension), a fungi expedition with Claire Burkum (SLU), a hunt for reptiles and amphibians (herps) with Tom Langen (Clarkson), and a bird walk with ornithologist Susan Wilson (SLU).

The launch point for this lake is about 12 miles from the nearest paved road. This means that for the most part the lake is undisturbed. This is a great place to paddle along in a kayak when you have no where to be and plenty of time to get there. The water was very calm and quite clear. You can see the bottom in most places. One thing we did notice was the lack of large fish and waterfowl. After exploring around more we discovered that there was not a lot of aquatic vegetation so this is likely the reason. After a quick lunch we went to the stone dam farther up the road.

St. Lawrence Land Trust volunteers met with Nature Up North interns Liz and Maya to learn more about our new water monitoring project, soon to be publicized on our website. NCPR intern Claire also participated to gain insight for an upcoming story on our project - stay tuned! Volunteers familiarized themselves with the protocol procedures, collected physical, chemical, and biological data to assess water quality, and gave feedback for future volunteer trainings. Thanks to our volunteers for a beautiful, sunny morning on the Grasse River! 

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.

I was kayaking on the lake shooting pictures of our resident Loons, when this massive eagle flew in and sat on a log. I just allowed my kayak to drift with the wind and we ended up about 30 feet apart, with Stumpy looking intensely at me, trying to figure out if he could carry me away for lunch, I think!
Stumpy had both blue and a steel leg bands, but his left foot is missing!

This is another pic of Stumpy. He must have had his talons folded under, and it looked like he was missing his foot. Emlyn pointed out that he probably had it folded under rather than missing, and she was right. when he took off he kept the foot balled up and it looked like it was missing, but when I reviewed the photos of him sitting on a nearby branch his left talons are clearly shown. Also note the blue band on his right leg that has "V64" on it. The metal band on the left leg is unreadable in the photos.

Spotted this Blanding's Turtle crossing in the early evening while biking home. The bright yellow throat makes these guys stand out, but they are a state threatened species and quite a rare sight.

Located off of the Dean road- 8 miles in from CR27. It took some doing to get here- the sign is misleading, and we hiked three miles in the wrong place. Still it was worth it when we finally got there. Stone dam was used by loggers to hold back the water and logs, and then open the gates to send the logs downstream to the mills at Lampson Falls. If you are interested, I have the whole story here: https://hikingthetrailtoyesterday.wordpress.com/2017/04/30/stone-dam/

Wild leeks are in! Spent some time walking in the woods the other day and came across a few impressive patches of these early spring arrivals. It's always good to be careful when collecting wild edible plants, but I find leeks (or ramps) are easily identifiable by their soft green leaves, the purple color between leaf and bulb, and their delicious garlic-y smell. These were great sauteed with butter.

Perfect day for a hike to Basford falls. High water always makes it a bit more impressive. 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, even if you are not going to visit the other falls on the road.

Finishing this year's sugaring in the woods. Great way to spend time outside. My favorite picture is the second one, with maple trees reflected in the not-quite-syrup.

After the sun sets, the sky takes on a beautiful blue toward the end of dusk and just before full on darkness. Beautiful. One shot is with the flash, the other without. I feel lucky to live in such a beautiful place as this.

The field by this part of the Little River flooded this weekend, and I was captivated by the shapes the ice formed as it froze in thin layers around the grasses. Nearby, we came upon this impressive scat sample. Best guess is a coyote- one who's been snacking on snowshoe hare by the looks of it.

Harper's Falls is on the Downerville road, about a half mile off of C.R.27. This is the North branch of the Grasse river. The hike is 6/10th of a mile from the yellow gate at the parking spot on the left. It's a nice hike through the scrubby hardwoods common to the area. Where the trail meets the river,there were not a lot of views, as the falls is pretty well frozen over. Walking upstream a hundred yards gives you much better views. You can see the stone walls from the sawmills flume still. Very nice hike on a February day.

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.

Beautiful trip with a visiting friend down to the Grasse River near Pyrites to see Hart's Falls (also known as Flat Rocks). The water cascades around a bend in the river here and the long flat rocks feature a spattering of well worn holes formed by years of moving water. Owned by The St. Lawrence Land Trust, the spot is a conservation preserve open to the public- worth a visit any time of year!

Encountered a beautiful deer while classic skiing at Higley Flow State Park!

We spent the perfect chilly morning at Higley Flow State Park. Conditions were just right for skiing, and snowshoers, snowmobilers, and ice fishermen thought the same as well!

Out for a quick morning ski with the pup. The river was loud in the quiet of the morning, and Tigger had trouble containing his excitement. It may have been an early start for us, but not for some, several fresh white-tailed deer tracks already criss-crossed the field.

Rainbow falls trailhead is located 6.1 miles from the Degrasse end of the Tooley pond road. The trailhead is unmarked, it's a line of boulders on the right blocking off a small landing. When you pass the canoe carry signs on your right- you are fairly close. The trail is .71 miles round trip, and moderately easy for most. When you get to the river, there is a small footbridge across a side channel. Follow the herd trail (and your ears) a little further and you will find the falls. We did this in winter, so be cautious of the ice, a fall here could be ugly!

You can see some of the falls right next to the road. The falls are 3.1 miles from the Degrasse end of the Tooley pond road. This is the sight of the former community of Clarksboro, and the location of a iron blast furnace. To get to the main falls, you'll need to get across the small channel, with the ice & high water we didn't try.There are some great views down stream though. For more info on these falls, this link will give you all you need to know to get you started....................................

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

Great day for a quick (and brisk- only 9 degrees!) hike back to Hart's Falls on the Grasse river. The property is now part of the St. Lawrence land trust. I'm sure because of their acquisition, you'll see some property improvements in the near future. It's only about a quarter mile from the road, but worth the trip. For more info on it, please check out these links................................ http://www.stlawlandtrust.org/content/harts-falls ..........................................

Took a beautiful snowshoe with 3 lovely labs this morning and am thankful for our beautiful north country. A great way to start Thanksgiving day. Lots of snow - though rain predicted for this afternoon. Very few tracks in the snow (other than those the dogs were making) but I did see a porcupine "half pipe" semi-filled in with snow. Also caught this buck on a game camera during the snowstorm the other day.

passing a row of yellow topped trees during the fall on a dog walk.

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)

I went for a rainy midday walk in this area in old field succession-- that is, a recently abandoned farmland which has been taken over by shrubs and large weeds, with the intention of becoming forest in time. Over the summer, it was full of milkweed and butterflies. Today, it was mostly grasses, vetch, and scattered clusters of these bright purple New England Asters, members of the sunflower family. These tall wildflowers bloom in September, and have just begun to close up.

While on a class trip to Heart's Falls/ Flat Rocks for a Recreation Research class, we came across multiple praying manti on the short walk from the road to the river.

On a trip to Harts Falls Preserve, I saw intriguing purple flowers. These chicory flowers tend to grow in disturbed areas, roadsides, and fields, which is exactly the type of location I saw them in.

While biking back from Pyrites along Miner St, two friends and I saw a very large, dark bird land on the road. It had a relatively small head of a reddish color and an enormous wingspan (around 3 feet). It took off when we tried to get closer so we couldn't exactly identify its coloration patterns or head shape, but its flight feathers looked a few shades lighter than its dark grey-black-slightly-brown body. I've been leaning towards turkey vulture, but I am not very familiar with that species and could be convinced otherwise.

One of my fondest memories as a kid was competing in frog jumping contests. My brother and I would spend hours catching frogs and training them to jump by gently squirting or poking them. We would secretly strategize our frogs of choice, based on size and athleticism, each convinced we knew the formula for a winning frog. I always chose the smallest ones; so much more agile. This past weekend, a few friends and I spent the day at Harper Falls which was hopping with small frogs.

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.

While out collecting minerals off of Selleck Road in West Pierrepont, I spotted my first Milk Snake! As a young boy, I grew up chasing snakes all over my home state of Maine- but I never once saw a Milk Snake! The non-venomous Eastern Milk Snake (Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum) was sitting peacefully on a log as a strolled past. He did not flee or strike, but merely watched me as I watched him! I'm so happy that I was able to spot this species in the wild!

morning on a marsh near my home in north russell. i was sitting down in the path to take this one.

Caught this beautiful bear on my game camera. This is only the second time I've caught one this way, just about a year ago. Weird color is due to camera setting. But no mistaking who the visitor is!

Found this shiny bug in the woods of Hermon

Mama raccoon enjoying an easy meal at bird feeder...

Going for a long run on Jingleville and spotted this Huge NY Snapping Turtle!

This frog has had better days...

The ramps (wild leeks) are flourishing at Glenmeal. We went out to harvest some on this beautiful afternoon. Can't wait to cook these up!

I found this little spring peeper hopping among the wild leeks this afternoon. Without the green leaves of the wild leeks, he blended right in with the ground and was hard to spot.

I went looking for the waterfalls and rapids I remember from when I was at St. Lawrence University in the 70s. Much has been wiped out by the hydroelectric facility but it's still a beautiful place.

Spotted Barn Swallows in the yard for the first time this year.

On my walk this morning I discovered this interesting spring effect on the ground, resulting in some beautiful ice formations. My hypothesis about how this happens is that now the ground is too warm for ice to form, but while we are getting below-freezing temps at night and while the soil surface is moist, ice crystals form upward, resulting in this very interesting pattern on the ground.

I'm pretty sure this is a primary feather from a turkey. Such a beautiful design. I heard a gobbler here yesterday. If you find a feather and you'd like to identify it, check out this cool website from the US Fish and Wildlife Service: https://www.fws.gov/lab/featheratlas/index.php

While most of the woods were free of ice and snow, these unique icicles hanging of a fallen branch in a small brook at Glenmeal State Forest caught my eye.

The maple sap was running this morning at the St. Lawrence University sustainability house! Within an hour of the first taps from the Nature Up North maple sugar workshop, the sap was trickling into the bucket. After the workshop, we enjoyed some fresh pancakes with maple syrup inside.

This morning some St. Lawrence University students attended a maple workshop at the sustainability house with Nature Up North to learn about a brief history of maple sugaring, how to identify maple trees in the winter and how to tap them for maple syrup production. The sustainability house crew provided some delicious pancakes, cooked strawberries and maple syrup at the end of this workshop to warm up form the cold March weather!

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!

Tooley Pond Road has become one of my favorite hidden treasures of the North Country. Here are some of the many cool encounters I've had today while exploring the waterfalls.

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.

Officially, today is the "first day of winter" - which seems surprising, given the weather. We've had a terribly mild autumn. Took these shots on my dog romp this morning in the balmy 45 degrees. Where is the snow and cold?

There was a warm spell in the North Country during the first week of November, where the temperatures crept into the sixties. Dr. McKnight's ecology class took advantage of this weather and had a solo lab in Glenmeal State Forest. We hiked into the woods and chose our own spot where we sat and observed our surroundings for the next couple of hours. Some highlights from students were seeing a porcupine, a grouse, and being able to wear shorts in November. Here are some pictures of the spot I chose to observe for lab.

After trekking away from our St Lawrence vans, down into the small valley, our class set down our gear and donned our waders. This is a regular occurrence for our Limnology class, our weekly lab periods are spent investigating the local freshwater ecosystems and today was the final day of the field work portion of our curriculum. It was a beautiful day and the picturesque babbling brook was sparkling in the sunlight. We settled into our various jobs, proving to our professor that we have mastered the techniques required for the course, while still being efficient and having a great time.

I came across this cool tree fungus while taking water samples for my limnology class at Boyden Brook. Any guesses as to what species it might be? I think it looks like Ramaria based on its icicle-like appearance.

With nighttime temperatures falling below freezing, the gardens are nearing their final days. Going to the SLU Sustainability Farm early one morning and finding frost on the greenhouse windows is a sure sign that winter is coming!

Gorgeous fall foliage seen while driving on Route 24 towards Lampson Falls; Just had to stop and take some pictures; Colorful like fall fireworks!

Fascinated by the berries that the Lily of the Valley produces in the Fall I couldn't resist recording this new discovery. I understand that many spring flowers produce berries in the Fall.

Went to Glenmeal State Forest with my ecology class earlier in the year to hunt for salamanders. I found this red backed salamander under a small rock near one of the vernal pools in the forest.

This hawk has been hanging out at the Sustainability Semester sight for a few weeks. We were worried it was going to go for our chickens, but we never had any fatalities. There was another hawk hanging out as well-- were they a couple or in the process of mating?

We caught a Ruby Throated Hummingbird in my mist netting class!! PC: Michelle Knuepfer

My tree in my back yard, big and coniferous. :D

My tree in my back yard, big and coniferous. :D

Higley flow is beautiful