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!


Wood frogs are loud and proud in the vernal pools, even though they're still half covered in ice. Wood frogs started calling two days ago, chorus frogs started with their creaky door trill this morning. 


No peepers yet! 

wood frog floating rear legs out in a murky pond by a dead leaf

Saw the first garter snakes of the year this morning by our beaver pond. 

a yellow and black garter snake sticking it's head up in a bunch of brown dead leaves

The area around the beaver pond has several spots where skunk cabbage is emerging. Lots of tracks where critters have nibbled it or passed by. 

green plant with reddish outer leaves just barely emerging from mud

Doing spring clean up in the yard at the Nicandri Nature Center and found our first salamander of the year. Not sure if it is Jefferson or Jefferson/blue spotted hybrid (which we believe we have in the park). Dark slate with barely visible blue. Was cold and we moved him to safe leaf litter from the sidewalk. 

dark color salamander on white cement sidewalk

During my ornithology lab at Robert H. Moses State Park, we saw this beautiful snowy owl perched at the top of a pine tree. These photos were taken through a magnified spotting scope.

Spotted one lonely Lady Slipper on our walk today.

The trails at the nature center were covered with needle ice this morning. It crunched underfoot over whole miles of trail and you could see it everywhere. Have never seen so much! There was also hoar frost on leaves close to the ground and hanging from trees. Made for a very cool walk!

Today was gorgeous. I love the days when we spontaneously decide to get outside and enjoy our nearby trails. There were so many things to see, both views of the landscape and colorful trees, as well as tiny green mosses and fungi showing off. I'm so happy we have a resource like the Nicandri Nature Center only 20 minutes away from our house. The kids love both the trails and the indoor educational center. We are lucky.

Baby snapping turtles have started emerging from the nests around the property. These little guys were in the driveway and moved safely to the lawn to continue their trip.

I was looking for birds at Wilson Hill Wildlife Management Area on Sunday but the birding was rather slow. As I sometimes do when birds aren't cooperating I started looking for insects and noticed a numbers of adult small milkweed bugs on some of the roadside milkweed plants. This is one of a number of insect species that specializes on milkweed, of which the Monarch is most famous.

Hiking at Robert Moses State Park and saw orioles, a scarlet tanager, and this blackburnian warbler in our travels. A great day for birding.

A group doing trail work picked up a pile of mulch and found several star-nosed mole babies. We had never seen a star-nosed out here, much less babies, so were very excited by the find. The nest was quickly replaced and work moved from the area to leave them to grow.

Enjoying some time on the trails and ran across this porcupine enjoying the warm weather and nice breeze.

Staff member walking on the trails at Nicandri Nature Center. Saw a garter snake in the leaf litter. First of the season!

Two days after Spring! Bring on the thaw!

I was out taking pictures when I saw this bird that I have never seen before in this area. When I got home I looked it up and discovered it was a Black Crowned Night Heron. Such an interesting find!

Sunset in Massena

In early October, I came across this really small, young porcupine nibbling at one of the abundant acorns along the trail.

This is a very fun thing to do if you happen to be waiting in between ships at the Seaway. Admission is free and the facility is amazing. There are a lot of live animals as well as taxidermied ones. There also backpacks available for kids to rent to use on the nature trails. They are filled with field guides and other useful things. Would recommend to anyone who's in the area for even a short time.

This doe was in a perfect spot for a nice picture. It's one of my favorites. Never leave without your camera, you never know what you will see!

beautiful day nice spot for sunset pics


The mugginess and bugginess couldn't keep us inside! A small group of friends and I finally made it to the new Massena Nature Center to check out the interactive exhibits and beautiful walking trails. The reach of Tent caterpillars certainly respects no town boundaries, and we ran across them all the way from Canton to Massena. After the Nature Center, we spotted a mama goose and her goslings at the Louisville boat launch while we scouted local public access points for a fun water monitoring project that's in the works. We can't wait to visit again!

Slogging around in the vernal ponds with Joel Danko from the Massena Nature Center is always an adventure, he can find all the critters!!

A few friends and I went to Robert Moses State Park in Massena, NY to do some birding. We were trying to find the Great Grey Owl which was spotted on several accounts this spring in the area. We did not see the owl, unfortunately. BUT! We did have a great encounter while feeding some chickadees. They flew right up and landed on our hands for a few seconds to grab a seed before flitting off again back into the brush. They were so friendly, we could have stayed all day to watch them! Thanks to the others on the trail who gave us seed :)

The chickadees were everywhere while I was out on The Nature Center's trails; they even landed on my dog! I felt guilty because I didn't have any seed with me!"

Crowded, many visitors from out of state sprinkled among the locals all vying for a chance to get pictures of these rarely seen owls!! Very beautiful owls, almost regal in appearance!

A bitter-cold day on the St. Lawrence River called for a little ice-fishing exploration. Cole's Creek and Brady Brook were chock-full of icefishermen and women, who offered lots of advise and wisdom regarding the elusive way of the fish.

Took a very long wrong turn on the way to Vermont for the weekend, but the accidental detour paid off with an up-close red-tailed hawk encounter. It was either flying very low or on the road when we came over a slight hill, then swooped up and over our windshield, just missing the car. Got a great look at its outstretched wings (speckled/barred), white belly, and rust-colored tail.

I've been watching the owls since spring...they are located in Waddington at my camp.....such an awesome experience

This was taken on the Nature Center trails at Robert Moses State Park in Massena NY. Chickadees are brave there - willing to eat out of your hand. Chickadee feet are light and funny feeling.

Found this cool tree carving at the Robert Moses Nature Center outdoor classroom!

Just watching a beautiful sunset!!

We were out birding at. Coles Creek campground. What looked like a block of ice moved, and there was our owl.

I caught this guy red-handed looking in my bathroom window.

Me and my fiance had just crossed a footbridge in Massena when we passed this little guy. He was very photogenic and stopped to pose for a good long while.

It was amazing ..I always go out to barnhart picnic area and take my four goldens to stretch there legs..always hoping to see fawns and the momma..on my way home at the bottom of the road to turn to go home there they were twin fawns and there momma across the road just waiting for me..I watched them for a good 20 minutes it was like they were poising for me..awesome road trip my dogs were happy and tired and I was happy tooo. :)

The Nature Up North team had a great time fishing with the Massena Boys and Girls Club on the St. Lawrence River today. We caught some small yellow perch and also spotted a bowfin swimming and some Osprey flying overhead!

On little sucker brook...I watched it fly in...and just starting taking pictures!!!

Watching the Blue Heron on the shore of little sucker brook!!

On my way home from camp...chasing the sunset!!

Out on a hike at Barnhart I saw a plant I have never seen before. It was in a wooded area somewhat near some water. I was wondering if anyone could tell me the species?

A brown headed cow bird showing off for a female. She wasn't very interested.

Frogs everywhere, the noise was deafening. But as I sat there I felt privileged to witness it.

First Garter Snake of the year. He posed nicely for me.

It was loud! my ears were ringing for hours after. They're hard to see, and they go quiet when you approach their area. But if you sit still in your waders for 10-15 minutes they all start to emerge and sing around you.

Driving along the St. Lawrence between Massena and Waddington..one man standing out on the ice despite serious spring melt and even some open water between him and the shore...does that seem like a good idea?

As you can see the fence is down. The two geldings were having problems getting along and here Taylor jumped the electric tape fence, taking it down. The rest of the herd is heading out with him.

I was watching the mama feed her baby's and was able to catch the little one peck out, it was cool to see this
Up close

Ran into this bee gathering pollen from a sunflower in me backyard. I tried talking to it but it just shot me a middle finger and flew off. At first I thought it was rude, but later learned it's a sign of respect in his culture.

Weeding in my flower garden today, I discovered powdery mildew on some of the Monarda. In the past I have sprinkled Sevin Dust on them but now would like to find a more organic remedy to rid the yearly appearance.

A Hummingbird Moth, Photo by Deb Donatto

Enjoyed a beautiful evening kayaking 5 miles down the St. Lawrence with my son. We saw:
dozens of birds
two jumping fish
one row boat
one much faster boat
four golfers
one lovely sunset on the river...Summer in Northern NY is really nice!

This beetle-looking insect was enjoying a midday meal on a daisy at the Robert Moses Nature Center.

While hiking at the Nature Center, I happened upon a toad just relaxing in the sun. He was a nice little fellow.

I had bought my husband his first trail camera and we decided to try it out by attaching it to a tree in the woods on my mother's farmland on the Mein Road We left it there for a week, retrieved the card, and brought it home to check out the action. There were many pictures of just trees until we came to this shot of the Eastern coyotes on the prowl during the night. We do wonder how many more were on this hunt before the movement caused the flash to go off. My family has always been aware of the packs of coyotes that roam the nights there.

Our Cub Scouts enjoyed a mid-morning hike on a beautiful day. It threatened rain all morning so the group of brave souls who attended was smaller than usual. Bird watching was the goal, but we spent more time watching the cows (who were quite friendly coming right up to the fence I assume looking for food) and investigating the numerous mushrooms and the one random skull we found. We practiced our leave no trace guidelines and took only pictures and left only footprints. Very deep ones thanks to the mud.

This beaver did not know he had a leaf stuck on his head...

For a week in March 2012, we had six or seven straight days of temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s. This was a summer-looking sunset at the Massena Intake either at the tail end or very beginning of the week, not sure which.