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The Nature of Things

A blog about nature and the environment

Archive for June, 2008

A hummingbird movie


I used my car as a hiding spot the other evening and pulled up right next to the hummingbird feeder. Below is a short clip of a hummingbird, um, feeding at the feeder. Here’s an earlier post about hummingbirds.


Posted by Mike Risinit on Friday, June 27th, 2008 at 5:51 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

An eagle update


When we last left our eagles in Southeast, the two young ones were nest-bound, sitting and panting in the massive pile of sticks atop a white pine tree.

Today, I managed to set up my spotting scope in time to see an adult and one of the young fly away from the nest. The immature eagle was as big as his mom or dad and seemed to just step off the nest before unfurling its wings. I waited about 20 minutes but no one came back to the nest. Here’s a prior post on the eagles, with links to other information and the original story.

Young bald eagles apparently spend 4 to 12 weeks with their parents after they learn to fly, learning then how to hunt.

Looking through the scope, I noticed some climbing gear clipped to a branch below the nest. In an e-mail today, I asked Peter Nye, head of the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s endangered species unit, if they had visited the nest this year. He said no and that, as part of their standard operating procedure, they leave the gear in place for future climbs up to the nest. The DEC has known about the nest since 2006, when the parents raised one young. They raised three last year.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Thursday, June 26th, 2008 at 4:17 pm |

Finally, something for free


Kids who want a free ride at Playland Saturday have only to do a little work on behalf of the environment to get their wish.

Any youngster who brings 100 or more used plastic bags to a recycling table near the park’s entrance will receive a Fun Card good for three free rides and a round of miniature golf (redeemable any day this season). The offer is good from noon to 5 p.m. at Playland Park in Rye.

Plastic bags must be clean and dry. Accepted bags include grocery and produce bags, newspaper bags, dry cleaning film, and packaging for toilet paper and paper towels.

Once collected, the bags will be passed on to recyclers to be made into products such as outdoor decks and fencing, according to county officials, who noted that 7,000 pounds of bags have been collected since the items were adde to the county’s list of collectibles in the spring. About 20 percent of those has come from kids and schools.

Posted by Greg Clary on Thursday, June 26th, 2008 at 3:23 pm |


Pop, pop and cheerio


Pigeon droppings are not going to soil any bowls of strawberries and cream at Wimbledon, not if tournament organizers have anything to say or do about it.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Tuesday, June 24th, 2008 at 4:16 pm |

Giant hogweed


Beauty and the Burn isn’t a Walt Disney movie but the headline on an article about wild parsnip and giant hogweed, two bad-news plants that can burn and scar you and, in the case of hogweed, even blind you should you get its sap in your eyes.

The article is in the most recent issue of the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s magazinetjndc5-5fpvle4cd2agxwac4ms_layout-1.jpg, The Conservationist. After the jump, I’ve pasted a story I did last year about giant hogweed.

Back then, it was growing in a few spots along Croton Falls Road in Mahopac (see photo). I haven’t driven that way lately, so I don’t know if it’s been eradicated from those spots. I do think I’ve recently spotted it in a few other places, though, such as along the Taconic State Parkway just over the Putnam line in Dutchess County and along the Palisades Parkway in Rockland County.

Here’s another blog post from last year on the plant.

Read more of this entry »

Posted by Mike Risinit on Tuesday, June 24th, 2008 at 2:42 pm |

Hummingbird success


So I put the hummingbird feeder back out last week and the local hummingbirds seem to be enjoying it. I had mentioned my failure last year to attract hummingbirds to the feeder and a commenter on an earlier post suggested making nectar by mixing together 1 part white granulated cane sugar to 4 parts water. humming1.jpg

That seems to have done the trick. Last year, I’m ashamed to admit, I was using a store-bought mix for hummingbird nectar. This year, with the homemade version, it’s almost non-stop hummingbirds at the feeder. Spend five minutes on the front porch and you’re almost guaranteed to see one.

humming2.jpgWe seem to have at least three ruby-throated hummingbirds in the neighborhood. I’ve seen two females (or immature males) together at the feeder. Other times, I’ve seen a male by himself.

Here’s more information on the tiny birds. And a thank you to Zoe Ann Hinds for her tip.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Monday, June 23rd, 2008 at 1:57 pm |
| | 1 Comment »


Peregrine falcons captured in photographs


We featured a story in today’s Surroundings column on Steve Sachs, a dentist who practices in Harriman, lives in White Plains and grew up in Ramapo. He’s been taking photos of peregrine falcons nesting at Hook Mountain at Nyack Beach State Park for three years.

Here are a few more of his stunning shots, and if you’d like to see even more, including photos of owls, hummingbirds and other wildlife, check out his Web site here.

All photos here were shot by Steve Sachs. Click on the photos to make them larger:






These babies are preparing to take their first flights:


Posted by Laura Incalcaterra on Friday, June 20th, 2008 at 2:16 pm |

Laundry just got more exciting


A bear under her deck. That’s what Southeast resident Maffalda Clair just called to tell me about, her Sunday morning company.

Clair, mother of former Brewster Fire Chief Ken Clair, said she went out on the deck early that morning to hang her laundry on her clothesline.

“I heard rustling under the deck. He comes out and looks right at me. I yelled and I dropped the (clothes) basket,” Clair recalled. tjndc5-5khmky2vih512xu8ygsb_layout.jpg

She lives on the north side of Route 6, just outside of the Brewster village limits. The bear, she said, ambled away in the direction of the woods and an old railroad line. She wondered if it was the same bruin that was struck by a car earlier this month in town.

There’s been a lot of bear news lately. Don’t forget the Peekskill bear (seen in TJN photographer Stuart Bayer’s (no relation) photo). Here’s Stuart’s video of that bear being tranquilized.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Thursday, June 19th, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

Local land preservation groups honored


The Westchester Land Trust, the Hudson Highlands Land Trust and the Eastern New York Chapter of The Nature Conservancy are among the 13 local, regional and national land conservation groups being honored Saturday by Scenic Hudson. To read more about all the honorees, go here. After the break, I’m highlighting the three local honorees.

Read more of this entry »

Posted by Mike Risinit on Thursday, June 19th, 2008 at 2:01 pm |
| | 1 Comment »


Trust in me


Nothing like relying on your snake as your attack animal of choice. Lucky for the Bridgeport police, this python was no Kaa.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Tuesday, June 17th, 2008 at 2:59 pm |

About this blog
The Nature of Things provides a chance to talk about the wild denizens that share the Lower Hudson Valley with us and the natural settings that make this place home for everyone. From Long Island Sound to the Hudson River to the Great Swamp and beyond, almost anything related to the environment is fair game in this blog.


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About the authors
SBenischekJournal News staff writer Greg Clary writes Earth Watch, reporting on environmental issues in the lower Hudson region. Clary has been a reporter, editor and columnist at the Journal News since 1988 and has covered police and courts, transportation, municipal government, development and the environment in the Lower Hudson Valley, among other topics.
Laura IncalcaterraLaura Incalcaterra covers the environment, open space and zoning and planning issues for The Journal News. A Boston College graduate, Laura grew up in Rockland, attended East Ramapo schools and has worked for The Journal News since 1993. Laura has written features and covered North Rockland, crime, government and a host of other issues.
SBenischekMike Risinit covers Patterson and Kent in Putnam County, as well as environmental topics touching on the Hudson River and the Great Swamp. Risinit has been a reporter at The Journal News since 1998.
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