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Our blog features constant updates on a variety of subjects relating to education, conservation, exhibits, special events, and much more. You can expect to read about art, birds and birding, weather, dragonflies and damselflies, reptiles and amphibians, literature and media, fascinating stories, plants and trees, butterflies and moths, climate change, agriculture, and of course, Roger Tory Peterson.

Water is Life

Posted by on Mar 6, 2017 in Blog, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Water is Life

Water is Life

Chautauqua County is at the beginning of several different watersheds – water from north county streams flows into Lake Erie, drops over Niagara Falls, and ultimately drains into the Atlantic Ocean. Streams in the southern half of the county drain into the Allegany, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, respectively, and eventually water from these streams reaches the Gulf of Mexico. Our springs and wells are at the source of several large bodies of water and our streams contain some of the cleanest water in these watersheds. As a result, the variety...

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Black-capped Chickadee

Posted by on Mar 5, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee

This may be the last look at a seasonal Sunday bird with snow this winter as it is now meteorological spring! Now that we have crossed into March, cavity-nesting birds like this Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) will be looking for nesting sites. If you enjoy hosting wild birds by providing nest boxes, now is the time to get them ready. Have you ever put out dog fur for birds to use as nesting material? Chickadees, and other small songbirds that use nest boxes and cavities like the Tufted Titmouse, will take fur that you put out...

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Will the Big Night be Coming Soon?

Posted by on Mar 4, 2017 in Blog, Media | Comments Off on Will the Big Night be Coming Soon?

Will the Big Night be Coming Soon?

Have you seen any signs of spring yet? We certainly have! Robins are actively feeding, red-winged blackbirds are beginning to sing, and it won’t be long before our resident salamanders come out from their winter refuges. Conditions have to be just right to entice them out from under their chosen cover objects; a warm 40° night with rain sets the stage for spotted salamanders to begin their migration. Will we soon see the required circumstances to set this charismatic species on the move? Keep an eye on the weather and another on nearby...

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AAfCW 2017 Training Saturday

Posted by on Mar 2, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on AAfCW 2017 Training Saturday

AAfCW 2017 Training Saturday

The Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds/CT DEEP 2017 monitoring and stewardship season is about to begin! Please see below for details, and please pass this along to any new volunteers you feel would be interested in joining us. We hope all our past monitors will be returning this year after yet another record-setting season in 2017. We can only keep this success going with your help! Spend your summer days at the beach and help protect a federally threatened species! The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and...

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Roly-poly-pede

Posted by on Feb 27, 2017 in Blog, Media | Comments Off on Roly-poly-pede

Roly-poly-pede

This Giant Millipede (Narceus americanus) doesn’t really have 1,000 legs. However, like all millipedes, it has two pairs of extremities on each of its body segments (centipedes always have only a single pair per body segment). Unlike their centipede ‘cousins’, millipedes lack the modified jaw-like first pair of legs that predatory centipedes use to catch and sometimes envenomate their prey. Instead, millipedes defend themselves by rolling into a tight spiral and/or using chemical defenses that can include cyanide! Worst case scenario,...

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White-throated Sparrow

Posted by on Feb 26, 2017 in Blog, Media | Comments Off on White-throated Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

Here is a photo of a White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) toughing it out in a recent snowstorm. Despite the fact that we were in the middle of February, this bird was already sporting its spring courting plumage; evidenced by its bright white throat and vibrant yellow lores. This is one of the first species you can expect to hear singing at the end of winter; their “oh-sweet-Canada” or “poor-Sam-Peabody” tune resonates from the brush. In some cases you might see White-throated Sparrows year-round –...

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Dragons of the Northeastern Forest?

Posted by on Feb 25, 2017 in Blog, Media | Comments Off on Dragons of the Northeastern Forest?

Dragons of the Northeastern Forest?

Do you still consider yourself to be a kid at heart? I definitely have my own “kid” moments when I’m out in the field flipping logs or dip netting pools to see what may be living beneath the surface of the forest floor or a body of water. One species in particular that I love to find in our northeastern forests is the spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum). Known for their large black bodies spotted with bright yellow dots, this charismatic species is hard to miss when out in the open. However, they are typically only seen...

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Frost Free Frogs?

Posted by on Feb 24, 2017 in Blog, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Frost Free Frogs?

Frost Free Frogs?

“The animal kingdom relies on staggering evolutionary innovations to survive winter.” Bernd Heinrich renowned biologist and author – made this statement in his bestselling book entitled “Winter World”. The Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica) is a true embodiment of this statement; these tiny amphibians can survive for weeks with an incredible two-thirds of their body water completely frozen—to the point where they are essentially solid frogsicles! The adaptation that enables this remarkable feat is known as a cryoprotectant – a substance that...

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Why Are Eastern Hemlock Trees Irreplaceable?

Posted by on Feb 23, 2017 in Blog, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Why Are Eastern Hemlock Trees Irreplaceable?

Perspective from RTPI’s conservation intern, Heather Zimba I think many people would agree that spending time walking in a forest can be therapeutic, being completely enveloped by the landscape’s vegetation and wildlife. I’ll bet that – if you like the outdoors – you can close your eyes right now and visualize the areas you most like to visit. One of my favorite places is a small gorge that contains a stream with beautiful natural waterfalls. The steep banks of the gorge are lined with deep green evergreen trees that...

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Zombie Fungus?

Posted by on Feb 22, 2017 in Blog, Media | Comments Off on Zombie Fungus?

Zombie Fungus?

During a recent Hemlock Woolly Adelgid survey, one of our volunteers found a little yellow blob attached to a hemlock twig. The mass was clearly not HWA, but curiosity prompted me to bring it back to the office for examination. A closer look under the microscope revealed that the blob actually consisted of a powdery fungus encapsulating a dead spider! After a bit of research, I came to suspect that it might be some sort of Cordyceps; a genus of parasitic fungi capable of taking control of an arthropod, thus directing it to navigate to a...

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