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

Stone Valley waterfalls

This was a breath taking experience! Fresh morning dew all over the flowers . It was so beautiful 

This was such an amazing site. Fresh morning dew covered this beautiful flower and it had a tiny little bug collecting nectar

This was such a beautiful site as I was walking along the trail across from this gorgeous building that I could not resist the urge to capture its beauty 

Brick church in Potsdam on the Island

I was walking around with my camera and every time I would go outside, I would always get a big whiff of the lilac bushes! Finally I grabbed my macro camera lens and took some photos of the flowers!

Lilac flowers blooming

 

Blue cohosh in flower Wild leeks Early spring beauty Wet dog

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

I was walking on the Saddlemire Trail this evening and saw these little trails under the snow. I thought they were so fascinating, and am wondering what creature is responsible for them! My best guess would be some small rodent, like mice or voles.

With a fresh layer of snow, the woods and fields lay under a blanket of white. This blanket muffles and hides the subtleties of the woods leading the mind to wonder what critters scurry below the layers of snow. Above the snow the trees stand tall awaiting the spring to waken and continue their growth into the sky. But for today, a sun sets on another beautiful winters day.

A calm and foggy morning made the Raquette river all the more inviting for a mid-morning swim.

A nice 5.5-mile hike from Clear Pond to Long Pond, and Little Rocky Pond.

Just love the garden with all the insects and wonderful creatures!

Wonderful photo in my garden. I was using an olloclip zoom lens.

Beautiful experience - it was very dark and the sky very red!!

Tons of water lilies but this one really stood out!

Walking along the Kip Trail on St. Lawrence property, passing one of the little ponds, spotted a northern leopard frog in the leaves.

I was driving by the bridge in Potsdam - next to Trinity Church - I had to stop my car and take the photo - it was just breathtaking!!!

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. 

What a glorious day! The sun is out today and the blue sky really pops up the colors of fall foliage in Potsdam NY.

Beautiful afternoon at Bayside Cemetery on a glorious autumnal day, 13th October 2019.

Just before the rain started to drizzle this afternoon, the autumnal view reflected on Raquette River was quite magical. We are lucky to live in this beautiful area.

A still river becomes a mirror to doubly enhance the beauty that is autumn in Potsdam, NY.

You never know who is going to show up for lunch at the Potsdam Food Co-op.

Kayaking till the sun sets in Potsdam is a treat because the sunsets are amazing- these are 2 photos on different days in October 2019 in Potsdam

So grateful that I can still enjoy beauties in my garden. This morning my orange dahlias bloom majestically adorned by rain droplets from last night. My red peppers look so delicious ... what more can I ask on this beautiful day in Potsdam NY?

Saw this nice little garter snake while walking in the woods 

In awe of the many beautiful mushrooms on forest floor

Traveled to Parishville Sand Dunes to look for insects, and in the parking lot I spotted this dark, nearly see-through chrysalis. When we came back down to the parking lot an hour later the chrysalis was gone, a little bit of searching revealed the newly emerged monarch expanding and drying its wings!

Glorious day in Potsdam NY is made perfect by majestic sunflowers and grand monarch butterflies.

Gardening is really fun and rewarding! My garden now attracts many butterflies, bees (different kinds of them), hummingbirds, sparrows, and American golden finches. To see this hummingbird sipping the nectar from my canna flowers is heavenly!

Fluttering and dancing among flowers, this swallowtail butterfly took my breath away.

Hummingbird drinking nectar from my sunflowers? Heavenly!

I saw a black bear cub on the trail to Little Rock Pond from Clear Pond. He was looking at me maybe around 10-15 meters down the trail at the top of a hill and he ran off. I turned around not wanting to get in between the cub and the mom.

White butterfly or cabbage butterfly (Pleris rapae) fluttered among broccoli flowers, oh, so mesmerizing. Only later did I learn that it's actually not friendly to my brassicas. Oh well .... it is a pretty insect, anyway.

The hummingbird is one of my most favorite birds. I really enjoy watching them drink from the zinnias in my garden. An awesome encounter in my own backyard.

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

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.

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.

Stone Valley trail is one of my most favorite trails in North Country. The sound of the river, the blue sky above, and the green trees soothe my soul.

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!

A short walk at the end of the day at Stone Valley Area yielded an assortment of birds showing signs of breeding activity, plus some fun dragonflies and butterflies.

Some of the summer flowers blooming today 

This photograph of a Northern Flicker was captured using a game camera on the Saddemire Trail. Flickers are one of my favorite birds, so this was really exciting!

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!)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

Out off the Kip Tract with my herpetology class, it was 39 degrees and raining. My classmates were finding amphibians such a redbacks salamanders, newts, and even a few blue spotted salamanders but I was fortunate to find the lone reptile, this lethargic garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis). I got to pick him up and I think he was very appreciatative of my bodyheat.

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.

I was walking with my friends in the afternoon. It was fairly cloudy and cold. We originally went out looking for salamanders, but as we were looking we came across this snake! I was with some beginner Herpers and they were pretty alarmed to come across something other than a salamander, but I assured them it was a herp nonetheless.

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.

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 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!

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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?

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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?

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.

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.

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

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.

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 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!

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Backyard birding is fun!

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!

I was flipping logs and looking for salamanders in the woods off of the Kip Tract when this common garter snake slithered right in front of me.

I found this red-backed Salamander under a rotted log off of the Kip Tract. It was a warm, sunny day after a weekend of rain.

I was exploring the vernal pool at the end of the Kip Trail by flashlight last week, and the spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer) were deafening. After much searching, I finally spotted one tucked into some fallen cattail stalks. He has a somewhat dubious survival instinct, as he didn't stop calling even when my camera lens was inches from his face. On my way out of the pool, I nearly stepped on two more peepers (second picture). The male (on top) is amplexing the female -- holding on so that he'll have the best chance at fertilizing her eggs when she lays them.

During Herpetology we went looking for various herps. After a long lab period in the rain, I finally found a leadback salamander (Eastern Redback without the red stripe) under a log off the Kip Trail.

I found this salamander under a soft, rotting log, on a cloudy afternoon following a morning rain. The air temperature was around 50 degrees Fahrenheit but parts of the ground were still slightly frozen.

My herpetology class went out to the Kip Trail to look for herps. While I was walking through the woods I found a blue-spotted salamander (Ambystoma laterale) sitting on top of some leaf litter next to a log.

My herpetology class went outside for lab to look for amphibians and reptiles, such as salamanders, frogs, and turtles, on the Kip Trail. I flipped over a log and found this little Red-Backed Salamander!

On a rainy day my herpetology class went out and searched for amphibians in the woods near St. Lawrence University. We walked around looking at vernal pools for signs of salamanders spermatopores, eggs, and frog eggs. We didn't find any eggs or spermatopores that day so we looked underneath forest debris for herps. I flipped over a log and found this little red-backed salamander while out looking! I placed my student ID card next to it for a scale.

The SLU Herpetology class spent a rainy lab period flipping over logs in search of salamanders. I finallly found this eastern red-back (Plethodon cinereus) under one of the last logs I flipped -- a small moss-covered one beside a small, half-frozen vernal pool, in a stand of white cedar and eastern hemlock.

My herpetology class went out to the Kip Trail to look for herps. After flipping many logs, I finally found a red-backed salamander (Plethodon cinereus).

Found this red-backed salamander (Plethodon cinereus, adult) under a small log along the Kip Trail near Wachtmeister Field Station.

On a rainy day my herpetology class went out and searched for amphibians in the woods near St. Lawrence University. We walked around looking at vernal pools for signs of salamanders spermatopores, eggs, and frog eggs. We didn't find any eggs or spermatopores that day so we looked underneath forest debris for herps.

I flipped over a log and found this little lead-backed salamander shortly after I found a red-backed salamander. The lead-backed and red-backed salamanders are the same species (Plethodon cinereus) with different color morphologies.

The day was rainy, cloudy and overcast, and around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The time of day was around 2:00, and I was herping with my Herpetology class for lab on the Kip Tract trail by St. Lawrence University. This Lead-Back was under a soft, rotting log that I had overturned.

Very exciting finding this Eastern Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens), also called the Red Spotted Newt. This newt is in its terrestrial juvenile life stage, called an eft. Found near the Kip Trail hiding under a log.

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

A still and quiet vernal pool. Tonights rain may bring out the frogs and salamanders to breed in this nursery

We found high water and icy trails at Stone Valley this weekend. It made for slow walking but beautiful views along the way. The last photo is of porcupine chew on a birch tree, both from this winter and a previous winter. 

A nice remote hike to Close Pond on the High Flats state forest, off of Donovan drive. Just a little over 2 miles round trip.

Snowflake, heaven, and summer storm.

The first snowfall of the season left my eyes in a magical land of beauty and peace.

One of the largest irruptions of Pine Grosbeaks in many years is happening this season due to a poor cone yield in Canada. Keep an eye on ornamental fruit trees for these birds, as hungry flocks of grosbeaks will gorge themselves upon the fruits (and will probably be unconcerned by your presence).

A perfect end to a busy day drive home from Malone.

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 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. 

A great afternoon with Girl Scouts from Canton - De Kalb on a fall walk at Stone Valley. We explored how and why trees drop their leaves, and the group created this stunning color wheel with leaves collected on the trail.

These leaves stopped me in my tracks while running one fall morning. It reminded me that although change can be hard, it can also be beautiful.

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.

At the start of our remarkably biting-insect-free August, this sunset in Stone Valley was particularly gentle.

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

The weather cooperated beautifully for our exploration of Stone Valley's waterfalls -- sunny and not too hot. Very impressive whitewater and geologic formations!

Had a great hike on the stone valley Trail. Many beautiful water falls on the Raquette River. Great views of a fast moving river. Shady hike on a sunny day.
Nice day trip from our home base of camping in Higley Flow State Park.

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

We found this sweet little nest in the woods near Postwood Park... does anyone know what kind of bird might have made it? It's a tiny cup (2 or 3 inches in diameter) built directly on the ground in open deciduous forest, near a swampy area.

Saw very little swamp milkweed this year:( One of my favorite flowers. Great scent!

Found a cool plant on the other side of the Little River from the Saddlemire Trail: this Canada Moonseed, a climbing vine that strongly resembles wild grape. Its fruits look exactly like grapes, but they are toxic! The best way to tell the two apart is by looking at the seeds: moonseed fruits have a single large, crescent-shaped seed, while grapes have multiple teardrop-shaped seeds.

Today was such a good day. My kids WANTED to go hiking, and my son's 5th-grade class had recently taken a field trip to the Stone Valley trail. So, we packed a lunch and drove to check it out. The weather was perfect for hiking, not humid at all and a beautiful breeze to keep the bugs (mostly) away. My daughter had fun keeping track of the different maples (striped, sugar & red), and my son was happy with the occasional hill or steep section to challenge him. I got to see a lot of neat things, including some fungi and cool plants.

The Nature Up North team had a great time leading an Introduction to Fishing workshop at Ives Park in Potsdam. After much untangling of fishing poles, guests made two catches: both rock bass.

Pretty Flower, scary spider.

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.

Sketching plants again -- this time on the Saddlemire Trail. There were so many more that didn't fit on the page!

The Nature Up North team had a great time today at Colton-Pierrepont Central School's Earth Week. The theme was 'Loons,' so we came prepared with some fun loon games, such as Loon Mythbusters. The kids really impressed us with their loon knowledge!

Lots of new life on beaver pond.

I love the way the sun plays with the water...both showing off the others glory.

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!

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.

Flowers are blooming and underbrush have buds. Raquette river is dangerously high with a high flow rate, but a beautiful sight. Plenty of mist from the rougher parts of the river that cool you down. Some flooding over earlier parts of the trail.

Enjoyed celebrating Earth Day by getting out to Stone Valley with some friends and our dogs. Water is high, and spring seems to have arrived!

Got out on the Kip Trail this today to check conditions for the Earth Day 7K run and walk tomorrow. The afternoon was gorgeous - 62 F and probably the first day it's really felt like spring weather. The first half of the trail closer to the Little River has a few spots that like to attract mud, but the conditions were drier than I expected. No large pools of standing water in the trail, and only a few muddy spots. Still, I'd advise anyone coming out for the race tomorrow to plan for some mud! 

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.

Great place to explore. A few tough rocks to scramble up, but a fairly easy hike for all skills levels. 10/10 would visit again

My class was able to drive less than half an hour to an amazing trail with incredible views. Even at the trail head, we could see a massive waterfall. Although we didn't hike very far into the trail due to a time constraint, what we were able to see was beautiful even on an overcast day, especially when we walked out on the rocks next to the rushing river. Of course, images can't always capture the full beauty, so I strongly encourage people to visit the place for themselves!

As we marched along the Raquette River during our Geology Field Trip exploring one of the many hydro-electric systems along this 'powerful' river, I was distracted by the vibrant view of the turbulent waters of the River, Raquette and the bare forests rooted about it awaiting a signal of rebirth from mother nature as the winter snow slowly dissipates.   

This is always a great hike, and the warm temps & high water from the spring thaw made it pretty spectacular today. The trails are a little icy, so you will want to wear some traction for at least the next week or so. For more on this trail- visit: https://hikingthetrailtoyesterday.wordpress.com/2017/11/05/3275/

Saw some fresh tracks going to this shelter and the porcupine did not find it necessary to turn around and show me just a tail.

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.

After a morning of freezing rain, the blue skies in the afternoon were a great incentive to get out. This was the first time taking my dog out to the trails at Stone Valley, and she enjoyed exploring the east side of the river. She even found a porcupine - luckily safely tucked away in his den! Trail conditions were very icy, I was glad to have crampons with me and would recommend them to anyone who goes out.

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

All of this melting and freezing lately has transformed the woods on the Kip Trail into an icy playground

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.

First hike with the dogs on a balmy 5 degree day (we've been having a real cold snap!).  The afternoon light at this time of year is lovely against the snow.  

A little bit of color in the middle of winter....

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. 

A beautiful view of Stowe Bay on the Raquette River

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.

During a nature walk on the Kip Trail one of the girl scouts from the Nikentsiaki Service Unit in Canton-deKalb spotted this little garter snake slithering across the trail. This one is an Eastern garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis), a subspecies of the common garter - or garden - snake. 

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).

Tons of Painted Ladies! Once I got closer a variety of bees (some of which my be types of flies?) At least 6 distinct buzzing insects. And one Monarch.

Friday the 15th of September our Intro to Environment and Society Class met with Professor Tim Messner from Suny Potsdam for a bow drill demonstration. A bow drill is a prehistoric fire starting tool. There are several steps that are very important when using a bow drill. The main pieces are a hearth board, the bow, the spindle, and the bearing block. I, Summer Scovil, was unsuccessful creating fire with the bow drill even after working all period to attempt to make fire. It is very exhausting physically after a while of work. I, Ariel Garvin, was successful creating fire.

A beautiful hike with some great views. The trail is long but not overly difficult. Wonderful way to spend a day.

I was digging in the soil near Hemlock and Yellow birch trees and happened upon these deer truffles, or Elaphomyces species. These are hypogeous fungi, meaning they form their fruiting bodies beneath the leaf litter. Although in the same phylum, these are not the same genus as the gourmet cooking truffles that more people They rely on mammals to dig them up and consume them, dispersing their spores in the feces of the mammals. Some small rodents, such as the Northern Flying Squirrel, rely heavily on fungi in their diet.

Canoeing the Raquette River in Potsdam NY

I was strolling along the Racquette River in Potsdam when I noticed these wildflowers stretching toward the water and the sunshine. Another sign that summer had arrived in our lovely north country.

Hikers coming back on trail said there were 3 babies playing in the area. This little one got temporarily left behind. Mother did eventually come back to retrieve and drag back up the riverbank. Still remarkably quick carrying a big load.

Last picture in series of newts still in eggs was taken on May 19th. Have been checking pool ever since and was rewarded yesterday!

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.

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!

Beautiful Spring day and lots of wildflowers.

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.

Wonderful trip out to Stone Valley with some of this year's graduating St. Lawrence students last week. So nice to share one of our favorite places with these students before they leave the North Country. We especially enjoyed listening to the warblers and catbirds calling along the trail. Stone Valley will be waiting when you come back to visit!

Came inches from destroying the spider's web with my face. Happily I noticed it just in time and then was able to instead provide it with a small portion of the blackfly cloud I travelled with:)

Encountered high water and lots of wild flowers while out trail running at Stone Valley. Hobble-bush has just begun to bloom, and there are several generous patches of bluets and trillium. Nice to see a few other folks out on the trail despite the rain. The section of trail by Lenny road is slightly flooded, bring boots or be prepared to get wet!

Morning walk at Stone Valley. The water was high, and we were just in time to catch the first spring leaves unfolding.