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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Muddy Dirt Road

We live on a dirt road almost exactly a mile north of the highway, a road that is a pleasure six months of the year and a problem the other six.

Granville Hicks (1901-1982), Grafton, NY, Small Town, page 3

Friday, March 22, 2013

How to React in a Black Bear Encounter

Black Bear Tracks

It's March and, while taking a solitary walk through the woods last weekend, it occurred to me that the black bears will be coming out of hibernation and it's time for a refresher on how to react to a confrontation with a bear.  Click here  and here for some excellent advice on this subject.  I've come across several sources that suggest making direct eye contact with the bear.  Further research reveals this to be poor advice.  There's a difference between keeping an eye on the bear as you back off and staring him down (not wise!).

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Conservation Plan Meeting Tonight

Draft Rensselaer Plateau Regional Conservation Plan

Public Workshop #3 - Thurs, March 21

Thursday, March 21st
6:30 pm - 8:30pm
Grafton VFW, South Rd. Grafton, NY 12082. Map!
Free! Pizza and dessert will be served.

Recent Press

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Where Do Turkeys Go in the Winter?

Turkey Track
No, not all of them go to Washington, although a rafter of them (Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio... ) were spotted there last week.  I spotted a huge rafter of turkeys traipsing through the woods Saturday.  I hoped to get a photo, but didn't get my iPhone out of my pocket quick enough.  I take the majority of the photos on this blog these days with my iPhone 5.  Up until last fall, I used a small Canon, but with the iPhone I no longer have to lug it around.  Sunday, I took a walk in the wooks and found photo-friendly impressions of tracks everywhere due to a thin layer of snow on an icy base.

As for the answer to the title of this post, I read a handful of articles and like Ahh.. the life of a wild turkey in winter best.  And, if you're ever in the market for a good book on tracks, I researched this very carefully and acquired the excellent Mammal Tracks & Sign; A Guide to North American Species, by Mark Elbroch and published by Stackpole books.  It was a winner of the National Outdoor Book Award.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Rensselaer Plateau Conservation Plan

The Rensselaer Plateau Alliance just released the draft of its Regional Conservation Plan.  Click here to access it.  The release of this draft, was accompanied today by an article in the Times Union, Plateau Plan Sees No Central Control.   See details below on the public debut of this plan scheduled for Thursday, March 21, at 6:30pm at the Grafton VFW.

I'm a member of this organization and encourage you to join as well.  Its voluntary staff are doing fabulous work to benefit all who live on, or simply visit and enjoy, the Plateau.  Click here to access membership information.

Monday, March 11, 2013

City vs Country

                    Brooklyn                                                   Taconic Lake Road - Grafton

Friday, March 1, 2013

Where do water snakes go in the winter?

Northern Water Snake - Summer 2012
They undergo a a kind of hibernation known as brumation in the winter, remaining awake yet inactive.  They don't need to eat for many months, though will occasionally emerge to drink water.  A snake in brumation locates a suitable place protected from frost: hollow tree trunks, caves, burrows, abandoned beaver lodges, or deep under piles of leaves.  Decaying organic matter will give out heat, keeping the temperature above the freezing point.  It not uncommon for them to share such a refuge with many other species of snakes -- scent trails left by the initial den occupants "guiding" others to the winter refuge.

February 2013