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The Nature of Things

A blog about nature and the environment

Archive for June, 2009

Dolphins in the Sound


If you haven’t heard, a bunch of bottlenose dolphins have been cavorting about Long Island Sound in recent days. My colleague Aman Ali wrote about it today.

Here’s a Newsday story explaining why their appearance and stay bodes well for the Sound’s health.

The bottlenose dolphins that swam into the Long Island Sound while they chased fish are a good sign that the Sound’s waters are clean and well stocked with herring, scientists said Monday.

For the visiting dolphins, it all comes down to food – the thinking being that they chased herring into the Sound, found more good eats and decided to stay for a visit.

Here’s a fact sheet on the marine mammals.

The photo comes courtesy of John A. Betzig Jr.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 10:59 am |

Cloudy with a chance of raccoons


That was the weather at my house Saturday. Cloudy with a chance of raccoons.

I was mowing the meadow that my lawn had become and had stopped to put more gas in the mower. Just as I was about to restart the machine, I heard this crashing noise in the tree branches above me.

I looked up and caught a glimpse of a raccoon plummeting to the ground, where it made a pretty decent thud when it hit. Not sure what was happening, I stepped over toward the house. After about 30 seconds, this small raccoon – possibly born this year – slowly began climbing up the locust tree. It took him at least a couple of minutes to ascend the 60 or so feet he descended in about three seconds.

He hung out in the crotch of the tree for a few hours – see blurry photo – and then disappeared.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Monday, June 29th, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
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Want to go fishing?


Then this is your weekend. Tomorrow and Sunday make up the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Free Fishing Weekend.

The annual free fishing weekend is the perfect time for residents and visitors to share the sport of fishing and create lasting memories with a friend or family member out fishing for the first time, or to reignite interest among those who may not have taken to the water in recent years. DEC first held the weekend in 1991 to allow all people the opportunity to sample the incredible fishing New York State has to offer.

Follow the link above to a DEC site, which will lead you to any necessary information, such as all the other freshwater fishing rules still in effect, as well as reminding you that should you fish a NYC reservoir, you still need a permit from them.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Friday, June 26th, 2009 at 11:57 am |
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More mockingbirds


More mockingbirds means more noise for some, according to this Associated Press story.

Previously on TNOT: The Rich Little of the bird world.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009 at 11:53 am |
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Orange County (Eco?) Choppers


The boys over at Orange County Choppers are trying to go green. I’ll let The Learning Channel explain:

AMERICAN CHOPPER: Chesapeake Energy Bike
Premieres Thursday, June 25 at 9PM (ET/PT)
The guys at Orange County Choppers go green, attempting to build the first clean-burning natural gas powered chopper for Chesapeake Energy Corporation. This project puts their ingenuity and vision to the test– can the OCC team create a bike that’s all chopper but still energy efficient? Over at Paul Jr. Designs, Jr. gets his new company off the ground by landing his first client, Coleman, who hire him to put a new spin on a current product. Meanwhile, back at OCC, Mikey finds himself questioning his relationship with his father and his role at Orange County Choppers.

Just for anyone who still doesn’t realize it, the “O” in OCC is for Orange County, NY, part of the Hudson Valley.

The TJN photo, by the way, is from 2004 and shows Paul Teutul Sr., OCC’s founder and one of the stars of the television series “American Chopper,” signing the forehead of Nicholas Barrett, 7, of Old Bridge, N.J., at the International Motorcycle Show at the Jacob Javitz Center in Manhattan.

Chesapeake Energy Corporation, according to its Web site, is “the number one independent producer of natural gas in the nation and the most active driller of new wells in the U.S.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Monday, June 22nd, 2009 at 11:06 am |

Bee news


Two bee-related items. First, check out the photo sent in by Daureen Matera of White Plains. She discovered a swarm of what look to be honeybees in her yard.

Well, we were in the middle of running a garage sale-June 6th-when we noticed a constant humming sound-a drone, really. When we looked up we saw thousands of bees hovering above the tree in our front yard.  A few minutes later they seemed to have disappeared, but, when we looked up in the tree we saw what we thought was a good size hive, and thought they had gone inside.  That’s when we called someone to deal with it.  A short while later we saw the bees hovering again, and then fly off.  But, when we looked up expecting to see the hive, we saw absolutely nothing.  When I showed the pest control guy my photos, he said there was no hive, it was a very large swarm of bees, something he’d never seen before.  He said the bees were looking for a location to build a hive, and decided our tree didn’t suit, she wrote in an e-mail.

Here’s some information about bee swarms and even some more info.

Then there’s “The Disappearing Bees” Talk scheduled for tomorrow at the Van Cortlandtville Historical Society in Cortlandt. The “disappearing,” of course, refers to Colony Collapse Disorder.

George Kummer, a beekeeper with 33 years of experience in the field, will speak on the topic of “The Disappearing Bees” at a meeting of The Van Cortlandtville Historical Society on Saturday, June 20th, at 2 p.m., at The Little Red Schoolhouse, 297 Locust Avenue, Cortlandt Manor, NY.

A longtime Cortlandt resident and a past president of the Society, Mr. Kummer will explain why the public should be concerned about Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and the negative impact it has had in many parts of the world.  With the use of video and interesting props, he will illustrate how the disappearing bee population is impacting the commercial end of the honey business and crops in general.  He will describe what beekeepers are doing to keep the bee industry strong and will have major products from bees available at the meeting.

“The Disappearing Bees” event is open free to the public.  The Little Red Schoolhouse is located at the northern end of Locust Avenue, adjacent to Old St. Peter’s Church and cemetery at Oregon Road.  Telephone on day of event is 914-736-7868.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Friday, June 19th, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
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A turtle’s tale


Seems a snapping turtle found its way onto the Hutchinson River Parkway a while back and was rescued from being squished by Mount Vernon High School science teacher Rosemarie Sanders. Here’s her story:

Thursday morning I was coming to work.  Upon coming to my exit I saw a large object in the road.  I swerved and saw in my side-view a large turtle.  I backed up to the turtle and put on my flashers.  Not having traffic, I got out and started to nudge the turtle off the road. It’s a delicate procedure because he’s quick with the bite.  Once he was successfully off the road, I waved traffic on.
Naturally, the turtle crawled under my car and started to walk the length of my car.  I was looking under my car at the turtle when a gentleman asked if I was having car troubles.  I related the turtle tale to him.  He pulled down the road to park.  He ran up the ramp and saw the turtle as he stood defiantly at the curb. Looking at the narrow strip of grass and shear rock outcrop, we decided that this is no place for a turtle.  The man, I later found out to be Mr. Steve Borys, a social studies teacher at Eastchester High School.  He placed the turtle in my trunk.
Upon arrival to MVHS, I spoke to fellow ecology teacher, Carl Caprio about the turtle.  I was told to keep him in the pond in the greenhouse.  Into the pond he went.

This all happened earlier this month. The turtle, who was named Spike “for his spiky tail” was eventually released into a local lake.

Previously on TNOT: Snapping Turtles.

Photo by MVHS student Brittany Goulbourne shows Spike with teacher Rosemarie Sanders.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Wednesday, June 17th, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
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On the inside, it’s Moose on the Loose


Seems no one told this moose that racetracks, particularly in Saratoga Springs, are for horses. Read the story here.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Monday, June 15th, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
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A pair of mommys


The red-tailed hawk chick that ended up at the Green Chimneys school in Patterson is doing well, the school’s wildlife director told me recently.

The young hawk, as you may recall, arrived at the school after it most likely fell out of its nest. The school’s wildlife director, Paul Kupchok, stuck the chick in with two other red-tails that live at the school permanently. The two adults, both females, have been raising the young bird, he said.

That’s him in the box with the two adults watching.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Monday, June 15th, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
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Singing the Hudson River’s praises


If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, check out the Clearwater 2009 Great Hudson River Revival at Croton Point Park on Saturday and Sunday.

There will be plenty of music, headlined by Taj Mahal, Richie Havens, Arlo Guthrie and Clearwater’s founding icon Pete Seeger.

The festivities are so involved, the organization has lined up 850 volunteers to make things work.
Seeger, who celebrated a 90th birthday concert a Madison Square Garden last month, is scheduled to perform several times each day at the festival with different groups, along with his grandson (and frequent collaborator) Tao Rodriguez-Seeger.

Advance ticket sales are already triple of last year’s totals, which Clearwater officials attributed to the musical lineup and the fact that the Festival will be celebrating a number of auspicious occasions, namely the 40th anniversary of the launch of the sloop Clearwater, the 90th birthday of Seeger and the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s voyage up the river on the Half Moon.

The Great Hudson River Revival, which serves as a fundraiser to support Clearwater’s numerous educational programs and its work toward environmental and social justice, also feature a number of superb storytellers and family-oriented entertainers, as well as crafts, a Green Living Expo, a working riverfront, environmental education sites and the Circle of Song, where audience participation is the focus. The entire festival is wheelchair accessible and staffed with American Sign Language interpreters.

For more information, log on to Clearwater’s Web site.

Posted by Greg Clary on Monday, June 15th, 2009 at 12:09 pm |
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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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