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!


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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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!

Sunset in Massena

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!


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!

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!!

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

A Hummingbird Moth, Photo by Deb Donatto

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.

This was a photo I took on February 23rd, 2014 of my friend Alex Ball when we went fishing at the St. Regis River. The photo was taken from a bridge that goes over this part of the river.

Habitat Description: This photo was taken along a stretch of the St. Regis River. The St. Regis River is 86 miles long and originates from the St. Lawrence River and flows southward through New York. During my visit to the river, the majority of it was frozen over, but there was a small part of the river exposed.

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.