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The Nature of Things

A blog about nature and the environment

Archive for November, 2009

DEC seeking scholarship donations


The state Department of Environmental Conservation has set up a scholarship fund to help campers attend one of its environmental education camps. Read more here.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Wednesday, November 25th, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

Eagle news


The Bedford Aububon Society’s wintering eagle study found that a peak of 139 bald eagles called the area  home during the 2009 winter, compared to 84 during the peak roosting season in 2008. 0

“Our survey shows that peak Bald Eagle populations for 2009 occurred in early February when a total of 139 Bald Eagles were confirmed to be roosting in the study area, compared with a peak population of 84 Bald Eagles in late January 2008—an impressive 65% increase. These figures lead us to believe that the Lower Hudson Valley is one of the largest wintering areas for Bald Eagles in the eastern lower 48 states outside of the Chesapeake Bay region.”

Download the 2009 report.

The photo by Richard L. Becker shows an immature bald eagle soaring over George’s Island Park in Montrose, one of the society’s study sites.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Tuesday, November 24th, 2009 at 11:18 am |
| | 1 Comment »

A gray bird on a gray day


There are 630 million Dark-eyed juncos in North America, according to one estimate. This one was in the state’s Cranberry Mountain Wildlife Management Area in Patterson this morning. junco

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Juncos are the “snowbirds” of the middle latitudes. Over most of the eastern United States, they appear as winter sets in and then retreat northward each spring. Some juncos in the Appalachian Mountains remain there all year round, breeding at the higher elevations. These residents have shorter wings than the migrants that join them each winter. Longer wings are better suited to flying long distances, a pattern commonly noted among other studies of migratory vs. resident species.

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Posted by Mike Risinit on Thursday, November 19th, 2009 at 4:15 pm |


Maybe she couldn’t find the right exit


New Jersey wildlife authorities have captured a wild turkey that was hanging around some toll booths on the New Jersey Turnpike. No word if the bird had an E-ZPass.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Wednesday, November 18th, 2009 at 5:21 pm |

Keeping track of your fossil fuel use


As the state Department of Environmental Conservation points out in its latest family newsletter, “If we take some simple steps to change how we do things, we can conserve energy and use less fossil fuel every day.” Doing so can help limit climate change.

You can find more information in its Outdoor Discovery newsletter.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Wednesday, November 18th, 2009 at 10:29 am |

Security exercise at Indian Point


Emergency responders from multiple state and county agencies will participate in a security exercise Wednesday at the Indian Point nuclear plant in Buchanan. Westchester County officials are advising residents who live near the plant that emergency vehicles, police cars, fire trucks and ambulances will be used – without lights and sirens – during the exercise. The four counties within the 10-mile evacuation radius of Indian Point – Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and Orange will participate, along with plant personnel and representatives of New York State. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will be observing the exercise.

Posted by Greg Clary on Tuesday, November 17th, 2009 at 3:39 pm |


Got deer?


If you’re a deer hunter and you’re interested in a possible tax break, check out a proposal by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Monday, November 16th, 2009 at 10:04 am |
| | 1 Comment »

Public forum on deer management


The Greenburgh Nature Center on Thursday will host a “Public Forum on Deer and Biodiversity in Westchester.” The event will look at and discuss ways deer are being controlled in Westchester County.

“Presentations by members of the County Deer Task Force will include details on the history and ecological context of local deer populations, and proposed ways of protecting biodiversity in the face of increased deer populations. Following the panel presentations, public discussion will be moderated by Fred Koontz, Executive Director of Teatown Lake Reservation. This free program is co-sponsored by the Lower Hudson Chapter of the Sierra Club; refreshments served.
Moderator: Fred Koontz, Executive Director, Teatown Lake Reservation
Panelists will include: Rod Christie, Executive Director, Mianus River Gorge; Beth Herr, Program Administrator, Conservation for the County of Westchester, Member of County Deer Task Force; Laura Simon, Field Director, Urban Wildlife Program, The Humane Society of the United States, Minority Report WCDTF; Dan Aitchison, Curator & Wildlife Biologist, County of Westchester.”

The county in late summer agreed to open 850 acres of parkland this fall to bowhunters in an effort to curb the deer population.

The forum starts at 7:30 p.m.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Wednesday, November 11th, 2009 at 2:48 pm |

A Yorktown bear


A black bear was spotted Sunday morning on Turkey Mountain, a 125-acre preserve in Yorktown off Route 118. Jay Cohen, who was hiking with a friend, spotted the bear.

On Sunday, November 8th about 7.30AM, my friend and I were taking our weekend hike up Turkey Mountain (rt. 118). As we entered the white trail we saw several deer, which ran off into the forest. It was a lovely morning. When we got to the top of the mountain, we sat and spoke for a while. We then started down on the blue trail. After about 50 feet of walking, we both stopped and looked at this huge black object  digging through the leaves to get to the underbrush. We thought it might be a huge dog. We noticed the tail did not look like a dogs tail. Also, the legs were massive. Suddenly, the animal lifted its head and turned and looked at us. It was not a dogs face, it was a huge Black Bear.

Information about the state’s black bears and living with them can be found here. If you’re wondering when bears bed down for a winter nap, a state Department of Environmental Conservation report (a .pdf is here) points out:

“Typically, female bears enter a den during October or November, and males enter their dens in November or December.”

Posted by Mike Risinit on Tuesday, November 10th, 2009 at 1:08 pm |


Crickets and winter


Ever wonder what happens to crickets when winter gets here? Well, they die.

During these past couple of warm nights, I’ve heard one or two crickets still chirping from somewhere in my yard. It wasn’t so much a chorus of crickets but just a couple of solo performers, sounding off very slowly as if it was taking a lot of effort to push out the chirps.

“The number of chirps varies with the temperature with more and faster chirping at higher temperatures. Chirps vary from four to five to more than 200 per second.”

Here’s a video of a cricket doing its thing.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Tuesday, November 10th, 2009 at 11:39 am |

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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