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Slimy Salamander (Plethodon glutinosus)

Posted by on Feb 18, 2017

Slimy Salamander (Plethodon glutinosus)

There’s always that one subject that is particularly challenging to photograph, and for me it’s the Slimy Salamander. They live in dense forests where the light is quite low and they quickly retreat from bright light, so without a high shutter speed your chances of capturing these secretive salamanders is next to none. What’s more, their jet black body and eyes makes it difficult to get the focus just right. And if you try to move them into a better position, your fingers get coated in their gooey secretions and then you stick to anything else you touch! These elusive...

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Dark-eyed Junco

Posted by on Feb 12, 2017

Dark-eyed Junco

The Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) is one of our most familiar backyard feeder birds. They are a species we can find year-round as they nest in some of our woodlands in western New York. They used to be known as the “snowbird” likely because of their abundance in pouring down from the north into all of the continental United States during the winter. Their plumage, grays and browns above with white below, also seem to fit so perfectly on a snowy landscape. This bird was photographed during a recent snowstorm looking regal as can be while living up to its name. Have you ever...

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Not All Salamanders Are Newts…

Posted by on Feb 11, 2017

Not All Salamanders Are Newts…

If you’re an amphibian enthusiast, you’ve probably heard this phrase at some point: “All newts are salamanders but not all salamanders are newts.” Does trying to make sense of this cause smoke to come out of your ears? You’re not alone. To shed some light on this conundrum, let’s first consider a bit of taxonomy. Within the Class Amphibia there are three Orders: Caudata, Anura, and Gymnophiona. Caudata refers to the salamanders; species that retain their tails as adults and have four legs. These differ from the Anurans (frogs) which lose their tails as...

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Bobcat

Posted by on Feb 8, 2017

Bobcat

They say any evening you spend with a Bobcat is a good evening – okay, maybe they don’t, but I did, and I do, so here’s a photo of a Bobcat that I took about an hour ago after sunset. What a magnificent creature! We will be buried in snow tomorrow in Connecticut, and I hope it comes back to play then. Scott Kruitbosch Conservation & Outreach...

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Ghost Plant

Posted by on Feb 6, 2017

Ghost Plant

Now that our outdoors are covered in white I thought it would be nice to post a splash of color to liven up the winter months. However, when looking through my plant images I noticed this picture of a clump of Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora) in the mix. Somehow their lack of color seemed appropriate for the time of year – and fascinating too. Lack of color in plants translates into a lack of chlorophyl, the pigments and associated cellular complexes that allow green plants to photosynthesize & turn solar energy into living matter, thus fueling all other life on our planet. Indian...

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Ipswich Savannah Sparrow

Posted by on Jan 29, 2017

Ipswich Savannah Sparrow

The Savannah Sparrow is a familiar bird to many of us, abundant in our farmlands, fields, grasslands, shrublands, shores, roadsides, and other open habitats. You can find them  across the northern U.S. and Canada during the nesting and migration seasons, and you’ll spot them overwintering in the southern U.S. or Mexico. This particular individual looks a little different than your average Savannah Sparrow – notice anything unusual? It is somewhat larger and heavier that a typical Savannah Sparrow, and its brown shades and yellow eye spot are considerably paler. This is an...

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