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 you organization's events!

Encounters

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.

Happy Earth Day!  Sometimes, actions speak louder than words.  Students in the St. Lawrence University conservation biology class spent 1.5 hours this morning picking up trash at the SLU Sandbanks and also along park street.  Disappointing to see how much trash people leave behind.  Pollution, including littering, is one of the "4 horsemen of the environmental apocalypse" (climate change results from polluation; the other three are habitat loss/destruction, invasive species, and overharvesting).

Encountered this (alive) giant water bug as I was leaving campus at about 10 pm.  These insects hibernate in the leaf litter during the winter and then emerge and migrate back to the water where they are fierce aquatic predators (but not to be feared by humans).  Nice to see that this one hadn't been squished.  I hope it makes it!

First day our daffodils opened!  I've been watching them all week and thought they might open yesterday, but today was the day.  Along with the peepers, this proves to me that spring is really here*.

 

*even if it snows later

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

Here are a few photos that were recently posted on NUN's instagram and facebook to highlight Big Night for New York's Herps!

Click through to learn more!

On the search for signs of spring, I stopped in the rain to get a closer look at this lovely pussy willow (Salix discolor) flowering outside Johnson Hall of Science at St. Lawrence University. The fussy flowers are called catkins, and appear on many species in the trees in the birch (Betulaceae) and willow (Salicaceae) families. 

During the Herpetology class's lab period, I spotted two-redbacked salamanders under the same log, one red-backed salamander 5 m from those two, one leadback salamander under a different log, and one red spotted newt under a log.  The class collectively heard spring peepers and caught this wood frog in a minnow trap! This all occurred between 1-4 on a rainy and relatively cold, spring day and all herps were found along the Kip Trail near St. Lawrence University.  Here are some photos to help!

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.

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.