Water

water

Why go with the flow when you can curb rising waters and conserve water resources?

Communities: invest in flood planning, drought plans, education, water reuse and recyling. Start a flood task force, plan for extreme weather.

Government and Businesses: create new connections with diverse stakeholders.

Everyone: work together to strengthen river or coastal communities in the face of a climate change. Share water-saving tips for home and garden, too. Every drop of info helps!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bottle Water A Brief History

Sunday, 30 November 2014 00:00   Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail     Submit Bottle Water A Brief History  in Delicious Submit Bottle Water A Brief History  in Digg Submit Bottle Water A Brief History  in FaceBook Submit Bottle Water A Brief History  in Google Bookmarks Submit Bottle Water A Brief History  in Stumbleupon Submit Bottle Water A Brief History  in Technorati Submit Bottle Water A Brief History  in Twitter

 

20110309212127

San Francisco Baned bottled water and led the way to the end of one of the biggest marketing scams ever invented.

With a few notable exceptions (like places where fracking is allowed) water in the United States is high quality and safe to drink. We in the Hudson Valley and Capitol District are especially blessed with some of the best drinking water in the world.

Consider the largest scale marketing of the most abundant free resources on the planet!

Great marketing hinging on our wish to be cool.

In the 1970’s Perrier made it’s way to store shelves in my college town, West Laffayette, Indiana. The bottle was so sleek, green glass, and it was FRENCH!  I wondered much hiper could a Hoosier ever hope to be than to serve bottles of this amazing slightly bubbly water at her next party. Apparently there were other’s who felt the same. Perrier became synonymous with high end parties and was the worlds first “water” status drink.

By the early 80’s the US was boogying to the ever faster and better fitness craze. Folks were going to gyms and buying terry cloth head bands and monogramed sweat bands for their wrists. Gym socks with 2 lines of horizontal stripes were standard. Enter the plastic “Sports Bottle”. Designed and marketed to take to your workout so you could have a cold and clean drink and stay away from that nasty water fountain. Bottles of H2O sprouted up in delis all across NYC and began to morph into spout top bottles, streamlined and more lumpy shapes, kids sizes, thicker then thiner than glass, Hawaiian, Fiji, square, cylindical, bomb, and grippable baby bottle shapes. Labels spoke volumes about what the drinker believed. Your brand of water defined you.

There are now water aisles in grocery stores.  Shelves and shelves of gleaming dramatically shaped bottles from a places we always wanted to go.

Reality: Water shipped 3000 miles from European nations, Pacific Islands, from deep in the ground or from mountain waterfalls is H2O.

Just plain old water. The rest is hype.

When a bottle of water is shipped from Fiji (tastes just like water) or Union New Jersey (where the water from many office coolers in Westchester comes from) or from the proposed Niagra Bottling Plant in Kingston, New York it takes fuel to move it.  This releases carbon into the air which contributes to Climte Change which makes us all want to drink more water! While you are imagining you are now intimate with the mountain geyser pictured on the front of your bottle, try picturing the enormous soot belching water truck that actually delivers water to your store or work place.  Delivering water through under ground pipes using the force of gravity is a far easier more sensible environmental solution!

At the other end of the marketing spiral is the illusion that recycling these botles keeps our environment clean. Actually the plastic in water bottles has a limited number of times it can be recycled. For the most part this number in 1 time. Also 10 cents does not move the vast majority of Americans to return their drink bottles. (Note that soda botles in the 1960’s in Pittsburgh had 10 cent retrun deposits.) Ultimately piles and piles of plastic bottles are incinerated at an alarming rate through the region, buried in landfills through our the Hudson Valley and Capital district and help to form plastic islands in our oceans.

water dish

Consider the great alternatives

Try stainless steel water bottles.  You can get Kleen Kanteen with stainless lined caps.  Avoid plastic. Really, avoid plastic. Green buildings are bringing back water fountains. Better than ever these fountans include speialized spouts for filling water botles, bring a mug, fill it and relax knowing you have the best water around at nealy zero cost.

Do we need to carry water at all? We used to “go outside and play” and thirst was one of the great motivators for heading home to the kitchen. (Great opportunity for parents to check up on kids.)  We made it from the house to the mall, school or sports event without something to drink. (Maybe an hour, maybe 2 hours between hydration would be fine for most healthy people.)

 

Questions for you:

How have we been trained?

By whom?

Is it in our best interest?

Consider how your expectations and your children’s expectations have changed.

 

 

 

 

Funding for Your New Septic in the NYC Watershed

Tuesday, 30 September 2014 00:00    Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail     Submit Funding for Your New Septic in the NYC Watershed in Delicious Submit Funding for Your New Septic in the NYC Watershed in Digg Submit Funding for Your New Septic in the NYC Watershed in FaceBook Submit Funding for Your New Septic in the NYC Watershed in Google Bookmarks Submit Funding for Your New Septic in the NYC Watershed in Stumbleupon Submit Funding for Your New Septic in the NYC Watershed in Technorati Submit Funding for Your New Septic in the NYC Watershed in Twitter

20120510020334

From our friends at the Catskill Watershed Corp:

MARGARETVILLEN.Y. For many folks, when you flush, shower or empty the kitchen sink, your worries about wastewater are over. Out of sight, out of mind. It either goes under the backyard, or into a municipal treatment system, where it become’s somebody else’s problem. 

But in the New York City Watershed, a 1600-square-mile area of the Catskills where six big reservoirs collect precious water for nine million people in the City and its northern suburbs, wastewater is taken seriously: It’s important enough for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to allocate millions of dollars for programs to adequately treat it; important enough for a staff of technicians at the Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC) to devote their workdays to administering these programs in the interest of protecting water quality.

The CWC is a non-profit, Local Development Corporation responsible for several environmental protection, economic development and education programs in the New York City Watershed West of the Hudson River. Among the programs run out of the CWC’s Margaretville, Delaware County office are those addressing on-site septic systems. 

In this mostly rural area, such systems are the most common type of wastewater treatment. A septic system typically consists of a metal or concrete tank to hold solids, and a leach field through which liquids drain back into the earth to be purified naturally before reentering groundwater. The tank is periodically pumped out to avoid plumbing backups and leach field clogging.

When any part of such a system fails – a tank collapses, the leach field is compromised or flooded, or pipes are broken – groundwater and nearby streams or ponds can be contaminated with unhealthy bacteria. With an estimated 20,000 septic systems in the stream-crossed Watershed, that’s a potential problem the DEP and the CWC are intent on avoiding through programs that pay to fix broken or substandard systems.

Eligible homeowners in the NYC West-of-Hudson Watershed can be reimbursed for fixing or replacing failed septic systems. Permanent full-time residents can get 100 percent of design and construction costs reimbursed; owners of non-primary residences 60 percent.

With the average cost of septic system replacement running at about $15,000, that’s a good deal, benefitting property owners (4,400 since 1997), the environment and New York City water consumers.

The CWC also runs a program to assist businesses with septic system repairs, and encourages preventive maintenance of newer residential systems by reimbursing half the cost of pumping and inspecting them every three to five years.

For information on this and other CWC programs, visit www.cwconline.org.

Hudson River Almanac: July 10 – 16, 2014

Tuesday, 29 July 2014 20:33   Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail    Submit Hudson River Almanac: July 10 - 16, 2014 in Delicious Submit Hudson River Almanac: July 10 - 16, 2014 in Digg Submit Hudson River Almanac: July 10 - 16, 2014 in FaceBook Submit Hudson River Almanac: July 10 - 16, 2014 in Google Bookmarks Submit Hudson River Almanac: July 10 - 16, 2014 in Stumbleupon Submit Hudson River Almanac: July 10 - 16, 2014 in Technorati Submit Hudson River Almanac: July 10 - 16, 2014 in Twitter

Compiled by Tom Lake, Hudson River Estuary Program Naturalist

OVERVIEW

Following the dire reports of no monarch butterfly sightings earlier this season, it was heartening to hear of what may be a resurgence, or just a tardy arrival. The American avocet continued its journey down the river, sighted in three more locations. The Hudson Valley’s immature eagles and ospreys advanced their stories as well. And those readers interested in seeing the river‘s fish at first hand should check out the schedule for the Great HudsonRiver Estuary Fish Count on August 2.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK

7/10 – Putnam County, HRM 54: The fields at Copperhead Cut on East Mountain were alive with flashes of bright orange flitting about the milkweed today. I counted dozens of monarch butterflies as they displayed their colors in the sun. They were beautiful to watch and, as I have noted that sightings are scarce this year, I was glad that we had not cut our fields so that the monarchs could access the milkweed plants that are in great abundance.
– Connie Mayer-Bakal

NATURAL HISTORY NOTES

7/10 – Ulster County, HRM 90: While taking a morning walk on Spillway Road at the Ashokan Reservoir, we were overtaken by a mama common merganser leading 27 young on their morning’s water-borne exercise. They paddled parallel to us, seemingly effortlessly but at far greater speed than we maintained. [Photo of hen common merganser with young courtesy of Dave Finkelstein.] – Dave Finkelstein, Evelyn Letfuss

hen common merganser with young

[According to the Birds of North America Online, mixed broods of more than 40 young have been observed in northeast Ontario. Although this behavior, called brood amalgamation, is well-known for common mergansers, it has not been well-studied. Amalgamation is not common with ducklings less than seven days old, but occurs frequently afterwards. Some authors suggest aggressive females “kidnap” young from less aggressive females, but no study has documented this. It may simply represent confused young joining incorrect mothers. Steve Stanne.]

7/10 – Town of Poughkeepsie: We had a brisk northwest wind this morning, and in mid-morning one of the eagle fledglings from NY62 was perched on top of a utility pole in the grassy field, a spot that had become a feeding perch. After it left, I went over to look at the portion of a catfish left in the grass. It was torn apart and the head was missing.
– Tom McDowell

[As the two immature eagles from nest NY62 expand their horizons and become independent, we can be fairly certain that this is a common scenario throughout the watershed as about two dozen other families go through the same process. It is rewarding to think back to 1997 when we had our first fledged bald eagle in 100 years (Greene County), and to reflect on how well they have recovered. Tom Lake.]

7/10 – Garrison, HRM 51: A pair of resident eastern phoebes successfully fledged three chicks in a nest over our front door. We watched as they took their first flights. Now the family seems absent from the nest so I guess the youngsters are on their own.
– Kathleen Kourie

7/10 – Ossining, HRM 33: As we rounded a curve this morning we came upon a large bird standing right in the road. At first we thought it might be one of the wild turkey poults that we’ve seen but as it flew across the road we saw that it was a Cooper’s hawk! The bird made its way through the trees, flying parallel to our car before disappearing.
– Dorothy Ferguson, Linda Rivers, Jeanette Redmond

7/10 – Tarrytown, HRM 29: Motoring upriver in the RV Biglane looking for live oyster beds, I counted more than 30 jumping sturgeon over a six-hour period (noon-6:00 p.m.) a quarter-mile south of the Tappan Zee Bridge. I estimated their size range to be from 30-50 inches. Amazing!
– Jim Lodge

[Sturgeon are the stuff of myth and legend. In terms of evolution, they are a very ancient class of cartilaginous (non-bony) fishes whose ancestry dates back at least a hundred million years. Among their many unusual behavioral traits is their predilection for jumping several feet out of the water and then landing with a large and loud splash. There are Hudson River records of sturgeon leaping and landing in canoes and fishing boats. While drift-netting for American shad twenty years ago, Chris Lake and I had a five-footer leap, land on the gunwale of our boat, teeter, and then topple back into the river. Why they leap is a mystery. It may be a way to rid themselves of external parasites or to take in air to fill their swim bladder. Biologists are unsure. Tom Lake.]

7/11 – Norrie Point, HRM 85: A young great blue heron walked on a floating carpet of water chestnut, stalking and stabbing at fish. Suddenly it took a misstep, slipped, and fell beak-forward into the water. It recovered just as quickly and resumed its stately progress as if nothing happened.
– Pat Joel

7/11 – Croton Point, HRM 35: After fishing for three hours I managed only a single, 14-inch-long channel catfish. I’d hoped to catch some carp, but there was no jumping or other signs of their presence.
– Bill Greene

7/11 – Croton River, HRM 34: Lengthy observation this morning has convinced me the cell tower osprey is an only child. It seems unlikely that a healthy sibling could remain unseen in the nest, as the only child grows larger and more active each day. Two greater yellowlegs were foraging along the tide line at the boat ramp, the first I had seen here for many weeks.
– Christopher Letts

7/12 – New Baltimore, HRM 131.5: This evening, I watched dozens of northern rough-winged swallows winging south down the Hudson River. Also, there were about 150 tree swallows flying around and perched in a dead elm at the Coxsackie Creek Grasslands Preserve.
– Richard Guthrie

7/12 – Croton River, HRM 34: This morning we spotted one of the adult ospreys perched near its nest on the cell tower near the Croton-Harmon train station. For a while there was no action aside from the bird preening its feathers. Then another adult, we guessed the female, circled high above the nest, a fish held tightly in its talons. It made several wide loops around the nest and then landed, poking its head inside, feeding the nestling.
– Dorothy Ferguson, Bob Ferguson

7/13 – Ulster County, HRM 85: On our annual family blueberry picking outing in the Shawangunks, we came across a beautiful timber rattlesnake, about 30 inches long, just about to moult. This was my first Hudson Valley sighting of a rattlesnake!
– Rebecca Houser

[The timber rattlesnake is the largest of the three venomous snakes in New York – copperhead and massasauga being the others. It is a threatened species in New York State and, as with patches of orchids, reports of sighting locations are purposely vague to protect them from collectors. They typically reach three to four feet in length but have been reported to grow to more than six feet long. Tom Lake.]

 

spatulate-leaved sundew

 

7/13 – Harriman State Park, HRM 42: On a hike through Harriman State Park, it was pleasant to see the carnivorous plants now fully in bloom in a remote bog. On floating mats of lime-green sphagnum moss, the flowers of the pitcher plants, vaguely reminiscent of ruddy daffodils, towered above the diminutive white floral clusters of the sticky sundews. Despite their affinity for insect flesh, these unique plants produce exquisitely beautiful blossoms – the whole scene resembling something from the Amazon rainforest. [Photo of spatulate-leaved sundew (Drosera intermedia) courtesy of Mike Adamovic.] – Mike Adamovic

7/14 – Town of Poughkeepsie: The two bald eaglets were certainly vocal but were pretty inactive by the time I arrived today. Mom (banded N42) flew in with a small fish at midday. Both eaglets were high in their nest tree, but visible.
– Debi Kral

7/14 – Town of Poughkeepsie: When Mom brought a fish to the nest in midday, only one of the fledglings got to eat. The other was visible unhappy. He followed Mom out to the river before returning back to the nest tree to complain some more.
– Bob Rightmyer

 

 

adult and immature great blue heron

 

 

7/14 – Bedford, HRM 35: The great blue heron rookery was very quiet today. Most of the nests were empty, with six nests having one to three young and three adults at three of the nests. The number of remaining youngsters in the nests is about nine or ten. It appears that their development was behind the others and they are not ready to fledge. Many of the young were seen flying about the area, but not back to their nest. The ones that have left are likely perched nearby waiting for a meal from their parents or are learning to fish for themselves. [Photo of adult and immature great blue heron courtesy of Jim Steck.] – Jim Steck

7/14 – Croton Point, HRM 35: I scanned the low tide beach: mallards, geese, a couple of gulls, and an avocet. Wow! And a lovely specimen! This was my first Westchester County avocet [See 7/8 – Newburgh]. It was healthy, taking off and landing several times, spending most of its time wading along the shore.
– Christopher Letts

[This was only the fifth Westchester County record of American avocet and the first since 1997. Croton Point had one other sighting in 1979. Mike Botchnick, Larry Trachtenberg.]

7/15 – Town of Poughkeepsie: We searched the tree-tops for the two immature eagles from nest NY62, but then spotted both of them feeding in a grassy field. As they came together one spread its wings and went at the other. They tussled for a second before one walked away. However, within minutes they tussled again – apparently the meal was not enough for two and the adults had not covered the chapter on sharing as yet.
– Denise McGuinness, Christopher McGuinness

7/15 – Putnam Valley, HRM 55.5: I witnessed a garter snake (about 18 inches long) grab and jaw-down a small frog. The frog had been in mid-leap into adjacent candytuft when it was taken. The strike-to-grab took about a second; in no more than eight seconds, no part of the frog was still visible in the snake’s mouth. The snake slithered into the adjacent candytuft within ten seconds after the frog disappeared into its mouth.
– Nancy P Durr

[Candytuft is a low-growing evergreen perennial (Iberis sp.) that blooms in spring with umbels of flowers. Nancy P Durr.]

7/15 – Piermont, HRM 25: What was most probably the American avocet spotted at Croton Point yesterday was now at Piermont Pier.
– Evan Mark

7/15 – Manhattan, HRM 13.5: James Knox found an American avocet loafing with some gulls on a wooden dock along the Hudson River at the west end of Dyckman Street at Inwood Hill Park.
– Nadir Souirgi

[This was the fourth sighting of the American avocet across one week and 47 river miles. Its origin and destination were very much unknown. Tom Lake.]

7/16 – Westchester County, HRM 44: Today I counted at least fifty bobolinks, mostly fledglings, but adult males and females as well, in North Salem.
– Jim Nordgren

[Thanks to the North Salem Open Land Foundation and Bedford Audubon, a group of landowners has agreed in recent years to delay haying of large fields until mid-July. With earlier springs, haying now overlaps with nesting which results in near 100% mortality of bobolink chicks. This effort began in 2009 and has resulted in the successful rearing of several generations of bobolinks. This is a wonderful example of citizens coming together for a good ecological cause. Jim Nordgren.]

7/16 – Croton River, HRM 34: As I watched the osprey nest on the cell tower at the south end of the Croton-Harmon train station today, I saw two nestlings jumping up and down while flapping their wings. One of the adults perched on an antenna out of the reach of the excited and energetic activity in the nest. Judging by today’s observation, it appears that they may be only a short time from fledgling.
– Hugh L. McLean

  1. HUDSON RIVER FISH COUNT – Saturday, August 2.

The public is invited to join naturalists from the Capital Region to New York City for the third annual Great Hudson River Estuary Fish Count, exploring amazing variety of slippery, wriggly, and fascinating creatures usually hidden below the river‘s surface. The programs themselves are free, but some parks may require an entrance fee. For more information, email   [email protected] or call (845)256-3077.

  1. Manhattan –River Park, Pier 42: Lower East Side Ecology Center. 12:00 noon-2:00 p.m.
    Manhattan – Hudson River Park, Pier 84: Hudson River Park Trust. 1:00-4:00 p.m.
    Manhattan – Inwood Hill Park, tidal basin: Hudson River Estuary Program. 10:00-11:30 a.m.
    Yonkers – Habirshaw Park: Sarah Lawrence College Center for the Urban River (formerly Beczak Environmental Education Center). 10:30-11:30 a.m.
    Piermont – Piermont Pier: Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University.11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
    Sleepy Hollow – Kingsland Point Park/Kathryn W. Davis RiverWalk Center: Teatown Lake Reservation & Strawtown Art and Garden Studio. 10:00 a.m.-12:00 noon
    Cold Spring – Little Stony Point, Hudson Highlands State Park: Hudson River Estuary Program. 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
    Beacon – Long Dock Park: Scenic Hudson11:00 a.m.-12:00 noon
    New Windsor – Kowawese Unique Area: Hudson River Estuary Program. 9:30-10:30 a.m.
    Staatsburg – Norrie Point Environmental Center: Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve. 10:00-11:00 a.m.
    Kingston – Kingston Point Beach: City of Kingston Parks and Recreation/Forsyth Nature Center. 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
    Coxsackie – Riverfront Park: Hudson River Estuary Program. 12:30-1:15 p.m.
    Castleton – Schodack Island State Park: Hudson River Estuary Program. 2:00-3:30 p.m.
    Waterford – Peebles Island State Park: Hudson River Estuary Program. 10:00-11:30 a.m.

SUMMER 2014 NATURAL HISTORY PROGRAMS

July 26: 12:00 noon – 3:00 p.m.
Family Fishing Day at Norrie Point Environmental Center, Staatsburg [Dutchess County]. All ages welcome to this free program; rods, reels, and bait provided. Wheelchair accessible. For information: 845-889-4745 x109.

August 9: 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Family Fishing Day at Norrie Point Environmental Center, Staatsburg [Dutchess County]. All ages welcome to this free program; rods, reels, and bait provided. Wheelchair accessible. For information: 845-889-4745 x109.

  1. HUDSON RIVER MILES
  2. Hudson is measured north from Hudson River Mile 0 at the Battery at the southern tip of Manhattan. The George Washington Bridge is at HRM 12, the Tappan Zee 28, Bear Mountain 47, Beacon-Newburgh 62, Mid-Hudson 75, Kingston-Rhinecliff 95, Rip Van Winkle 114, and the Federal Dam at Troy, the head of tidewater, at 153. The tidal section of the Hudson constitutes a bit less than half the total distance – 315 miles – from Lake Tear of the Clouds to the Battery. Entries from points east and west in the watershed reference the corresponding river mile on the mainstem.

TO CONTRIBUTE YOUR OBSERVATIONS OR TO SUBSCRIBE

  1. Hudson River Almanac is compiled and edited by Tom Lake and emailed weekly by Steve Stanne, education coordinator at DEC’s Hudson RiverEstuary Program. Share your observations by e-mailing them to   [email protected].

To subscribe to the Almanac (or to unsubscribe), go to DEC’s Email Lists page, enter your email address, and click on “Submit.” A page listing available subscription topics will appear. Scroll down; under the heading “Natural Areas and Wildlife” is the section “Lakes and Rivers” with a listing for the HudsonRiver Almanac. Click on the check box to subscribe. While there, you may wish to subscribe to RiverNet, which covers projects, events and actions related to the Hudson and its watershed, or to other DEC newsletters and information feeds.

  1. Hudson River Almanac archive allows one to use the DEC website’s search engine to find species, locations, and other data in weekly issues dating back to October 2003.
  2. New York State Conservationist – the award-winning, advertisement-free magazine focusing on New York State’s great outdoors and natural resources. Conservationist features stunning photography, informative articles and around-the-state coverage.

USEFUL LINKS

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s high and low tide and tidal current predictions are invaluable for planning boating, fishing, and other excursions on and along the estuary.

  1. Hudson River Environmental Conditions Observing System [HRECOS] provides near real-time information on water and weather conditions at monitoring stations from Manhattan to the Mohawk River.

Historical information on the movements of the salt front is available on the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hudson River Salt Front website.

New smartphone app available for New York outdoor enthusiasts!
DEC, in partnership with ParksByNature Network®, is proud to announce the launch of the New York Fishing, Hunting & Wildlife App for iPhone and Android. This FREE, cutting-edge mobile app gives both novice and seasoned outdoorsmen and women essential information in the palm of their hands. Powered by Pocket Ranger® technology, this official app for DEC will provide up-to-date information on fishing, hunting and wildlife watching and serve as an interactive outdoor app using today’s leading mobile devices. Using the app’s advanced GPS features, users will be able identify and locate New York’s many hunting, fishing and wildlife watching sites. They will also gain immediate access to species profiles, rules and regulations, and important permits and licensing details.

NY Open for Hunting and Fishing Initiative
Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This initiative includes streamlining fishing and hunting licenses, reducing license fees, improving access for fishing and increasing hunting opportunities in New York State.
In support of this initiative, this year’s budget includes $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have gone largely untapped until now. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the state’s fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State.
This year’s budget also reduces short-term fishing licenses fees; increases the number of authorized statewide free fishing days to eight from two; authorizes DEC to offer 10 days of promotional prices for hunting, fishing and trapping licenses; and authorizes free Adventure Plates for new lifetime license holders, discounted Adventure Plates for existing lifetime license holders and regular fee Adventure Plates for annual license holders.

Copies of past issues of the Hudson River Almanac, Volumes II-VIII, are available for purchase from the publisher, Purple Mountain Press(800) 325-2665.


Update your subscriptions, modify your password or email address, or stop subscriptions at any time on your Subscriber Preferences Page. Please visitsubscriberhelp.govdelivery.com if you have questions or problems with the subscription service.

This service is provided to you by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. We respect your right to privacy and welcome your feedback.

Connect with DEC on Facebook and Twitter

 

 

 

 

Hudson River Almanac May 22 – 28, 2014

Thursday, 05 June 2014 21:25    Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail    Submit Hudson River Almanac May 22 - 28, 2014 in Delicious Submit Hudson River Almanac May 22 - 28, 2014 in Digg Submit Hudson River Almanac May 22 - 28, 2014 in FaceBook Submit Hudson River Almanac May 22 - 28, 2014 in Google Bookmarks Submit Hudson River Almanac May 22 - 28, 2014 in Stumbleupon Submit Hudson River Almanac May 22 - 28, 2014 in Technorati Submit Hudson River Almanac May 22 - 28, 2014 in Twitter

May 22 – 28, 2014
Compiled by Tom Lake, Hudson River Estuary Program Naturalist

OVERVIEW

We began to settle into a late-spring sampling of entries of flora and fauna in equal measure. The occasionally severe spring weather dropped a tornado in Schenectady County while a milder natural phenomenon showered the beach in Beacon in a blizzard of white.

LATE REPORTS FROM LAST WEEK

5/20 – RamsHorn Swamp, HRM 112.5: On the fourth set of its 500-foot haul seine today, DEC’s Hudson River Fisheries Unit caught, among other species, 29 rudd – the largest number they had ever seen in a single haul. The rudd were about eleven to fourteen inches long.
– Steve Stanne

5/20 – Alpine, NJ, HRM 18: Clear skies and a Baltimore oriole greeted the Tappan Zee and Pearl River High School students as they entered the Alpine Boat Basin park for a day of hiking and seining. Lots of effort went into seining but the river was slow to offer up any fish. We ended the day with one Atlantic tomcod 70 millimeters [mm] long, a white perch (127 mm), a bay anchovy (83 mm), and a grass shrimp. The salinity was a very low 1.7 parts per thousand [ppt].
– Margie Turrin, Colin Keegan, Patti Kilkelly, Pete Dene, Tom Mullane

NATURAL HISTORY NOTES

5/22 – Duanesburg, Schenectady County, HRM 157: In the midst of a line of violent storms, a tornado cut a swath through this area late this afternoon, destroying buildings and much property but causing no human casualties.
– National Weather Service

5/22 – Town of Wappinger, HRM 67: Heavy rain (1.75 inches) swept across the river today. High winds abetting a strong ebb tide had whitecaps on three-foot-high rollers. The blackflies went into hiding.
– Tom Lake

[I apologize for the confusion created with last issue’s sidebar on blackflies and “no-see-ums.” Our blackflies are in the family Simuliidae. The name “no-see-ums” is frequently used by anglers and hikers, referring to blackflies’ small size and the fact that you almost never notice them biting. However, no-see-ums properly refers to a different family of even smaller biting flies (Ceratopogonidae). Tom Lake.]

5/22 – Croton Point, HRM 35: A Westchester County rarity, a cattle egret, presented itself today in a field at the base of the point, feeding among a flock of Canada geese.
– John Philips, John Grant, Larry Trachtenberg

5/22 – Croton Point, HRM 35-34: Between squally spells I managed a nice morning walk. Bush honeysuckle was in bloom; the scent pervaded the moist air. Out on Haverstraw Bay, lost in the mist, a loon called just once. Glad as I was to be where I was, that call had a predictable effect. Instantly, half of me was transported hundreds of miles north where loon parents were guarding nests on lakes and beaver ponds.
– Christopher Letts

5/23 – RamsHorn-Livingston Sanctuary, HRM 112.5: Among the “regulars” today, there were also a yellow-billed cuckoo and a Canada warbler, still hanging around the observation tower (breeding there?). Best of all was hearing the calls of juvenile Virginia rails!
– Larry Federman

[Canada warbler breeding is not likely. While we’re within the southern limits of their breeding range, the habitat and elevation are wrong for the species. This Canada warbler was likely a lingering late migrant (but not all that late). Rich Guthrie]

 

 

black-throated green warbler

 

 

 

5/23 – Palenville, HRM 110: It was “warbler-palooza” late this afternoon. I counted many blackpolls, Blackburnian, yellow-rumped, and magnolia, as well as black-and-white and black-throated-green warblers. A pair of black-billed cuckoos was seen, as were resident Baltimore orioles (conveniently building a nest in our chestnut oak); blue-gray gnatcatchers; and two pairs of ruby-throated hummingbirds. [Photo of black-throated green warbler by Jake Dingle, Pennsylvania Game Commission.] – Larry Federman

5/23 – Ulster County, HRM 97: How wonderful to return to the Hudson Valley with its amazing diversity of flora and fauna after spending a winter in Florida. We were greeted by the scene of striped bass anglers in great numbers on both sides of the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge. Lilacs were in full bloom and our first ruby-throated hummingbird reminded me to put the feeders out. Overhead were long formations of brant heading north. A large tanker threw up such a huge wake at low tide that it thrust many white perch and river herring up on the shoreline with no way for them to get back in the water. My neighbor and I threw back about 30.
– Peg Duke

5/23 – Pleasant Valley, HRM 76: For the first time in ten years I saw a red fox as it walked across my back yard, sat and scratched, and then just looked at me. I grabbed my binoculars to get a closer look. It was a large fox, very high on leg, and quite magnificent with a long bushy tail.
– Kathy Kraft

5/23 – Croton Point, HRM 34.5: There were at least 24 bobolinks on Croton Point’s landfill this morning, including three singing males. Two different grasshopper sparrows were singing, with a third one perched in a different area.
– Anne Swaim

5/23 – Croton Point, HRM 34.5: The male bobolinks were back aloft, the display flight and lovely liquid song touching up my morning as no jumbo mug of coffee could possible do. On the field at the entrance to the point, the cattle egret was doing a herky-jerky breakfast patrol.
– Christopher Letts

5/24 – Norrie Point, HRM 85: Today we had an international class of senior high school students helping us to sample the river. Students from the Manhattan Center for Science and Math joined with those from Maurick College in Vught, The Netherlands. It was wonderful for the educators to see the river through the fresh eyes of those who were experiencing the estuary for the first time. The resident species – sunfish, darters, killifish, white perch – were all there, and one unexpected fish, a fathead minnow.
– Tom Lake

[This very unassuming pinkie-sized minnow is native to the mid-continental United States. Its presence in the watershed may be a combination of both canal immigration and bait-bucket release. We had caught fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) at Norrie Point only once before, exactly two years ago on May 24, 2012. Tom Lake.]

5/24 – Annsville Creek, HRM 43.5: Imagine our wonder and delight today as we watched an adult bald eagle pluck a fish from Annsville Creek and then fly over our car with his catch.
– Dianne Picciano, Phil Picciano

5/24 – Croton-on-Hudson, HRM 35: I woke up at 3:00 a.m. hoping that the skies had cleared so I could see some of the expected meteor shower (the Camelopardalids). However, the sky was thickly clouded with no chance of meteor sightings. But as I squinted into the gloom, I began to see flickers of light in the air, at tree-top level, on the window screen – no meteors, but fireflies.
– Robin Fox

5/25 – Ossining, HRM 33: At dusk a loud cackling sound overhead caused me to look up to see hundreds of brant flying north over the river. They were not in a typical “V” formation; their lines looked like swirls painted on the sky, quickly moving out of sight.
– Dorothy Ferguson

5/25 – East River, New York City: We have been seeing American eels of all sizes this week, hooked by anglers and hiding out in our oyster cages. Our oyster cages (gardens) are hanging off a semi-protected bulkhead in the East River about six inches below the projected low tide water mark. These are a part of the New York Harbor School’s Billion Oyster Project. A network of students come by periodically and check the growth of the protected spat-on-shell young oysters to determine what locations in the harbor offer good habitat. The cages also offer protection as the young shellfish grow to a size that will survive on an open reef.
– Daniel Tainow

[We have had one of our cages for two years, and many of the oysters have grown from 4-5 mm to 40-50 mm. We are able to use the oyster gardens as a tool to teach students about the natural history of New York Harbor, oysters’ ability to filter the water, the potential of oyster reefs to slow down storm surges, and as a living laboratory to show what happens when you restore a tiny area of shallow estuary habitat. Along with the oysters, we have found mud crabs; green crabs; spider crabs; sea squirts; blue mussels; sponges; skilletfish; shrimp; and 3-5 inch-long American eels using the cage. Daniel Tainow, Education Director, Lower East Side Ecology Center]

 

female mallard in tree cavity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5/26 – Saratoga Springs, HRM 186: For two weeks now, I had been watching a hen mallard sitting inside a large cavity of an old willow, canted to one side, at Congress Park in Saratoga Springs. My son, Matt James, climbed to peer into the nest hole, about nine feet up, and took a photo of eggs. Now the hen mallard was on the ground next to the tree and a stream with her brood. While her distinct mallard field marks were obvious, the drake appeared to be a hybrid mallard. A mallard, not a wood duck, nest in a tree cavity was very unexpected. [Photo of female mallard in tree cavity courtesy of Matt James.] – Johanna Wasalinko

[According to the Birds of North American Online, mallards occasionally nest in dead tree tops; hollow bases of trees; and abandoned raptor or crow nests. It’s not a big jump from such sites to nesting in a large natural cavity in a tree. Steve Stanne.]

5/26 – Town of Poughkeepsie, HRM 67.5: Walking past my window on a warm Memorial Day evening, I stopped to look at something that had caught my eye – the first “lightning bugs” or fireflies of the season!
– Donna Lenhart

5/27 – Minerva, HRM 284: This is the first time in about fifteen years that we have not had an American bittern with their “bad plumbing” calls in the marsh. I did hear an alder flycatcher for the first time (the standard “fee-be-o” call) – in the alders, of course. It was prime time for painted trillium, starflower, and goldthread, with Clintonia just starting to flower. Shadbush flowering was pretty much done; it began around two weeks ago. All things in the woods were intensely green and beautiful.
– Mike Corey

5/27 – Ravena, HRM 133.5: I glanced out into the backyard this afternoon and spotted a bird flying back-and-forth in my garden – a flycatcher, possibly a kingbird. But the coloration wasn’t quite right. After some further investigation, it appeared that it might be a visiting western kingbird, with a yellow-tinged abdomen and brown wings.
– Larry Roth

[Western kingbirds are considered very rare in our area, and then only in fall migration. Rich Guthrie offered that Larry saw a great crested flycatcher – yellow belly with brownish wings – that is a fairly common species here at this time of year. Barbara Butler agreed, adding that while it is possible – Dutchess County has eight records, all in the fall – the description sounds very much like a great-crested flycatcher, a summer resident in our area. Tom Lake.]

5/27 – Tivoli Bays, HRM 100: I spotted a horned grebe here today. It was also seen yesterday by Susan Fox Rogers while she was kayaking. Barbara Butler (Waterman Bird Club) is checking but she thinks this might be the latest spring migration date on record for this species in Dutchess County.
– Debi Kral

5/27 – Milan, HRM 90: I remove my hummingbird feeder each evening to prevent bears from taking it from my deck as in past years. I went out later than usual tonight and heard the loud repetitive song of a whip-poor-will. I could not tell if it was one or two birds. The clear song brought back memories of days past in rural New England where I often heard it. It would be nice to have a breeding pair nearby. Barbara Butler told me that she did count whip-poor-wills during this year’s Waterman Bird Club Dutchess County May census.
– Frank Margiotta

[It is difficult to know how many breeding pairs of whip-poor-wills remain in Dutchess County, perhaps a dozen or a few more. They are generally heard during the May census and nearly all reports come from the eastern half of the county. The Birds of Dutchess County New York by Stan DeOrsey and Barbara Butler (2006)]

5/27 – Town of Poughkeepsie: I stopped by NY62 today for the first time is quite a while and from the distant vantage found the eagle’s nest so well concealed by new leaves that all I saw was a big wing flapping! The eaglets are growing up.
– Debi Kral

5/27 – Beacon, HRM 61: There was a “blizzard” on the beach at Long Dock today in a strong and sultry southwest breeze. The wind was dispersing clouds of cottonwood seeds as well as the fragrance of honeysuckle. The midday high tide covered the entire beach, limiting our catch to banded killifish. The river was 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
– Tom Lake, T.R. Jackson

5/27 – Bedford, HRM 35: Things were starting to get noisy at the great blue heron rookery. There was a constant chatter from the nestlings looking to get fed and they sure were growing. They now appear to be about the size of a small chicken, but with short legs and a short bill. In several nests I saw two young and in others three. The nests were deep enough so there could be more inside. Some nests appeared to be unoccupied and others had an adult perched on the side of the nest as if standing guard over an incubating mate.
– Jim Steck

 

 

Dame's rocket

 

 

 

5/28 – Town of Wappinger, HRM 67: The roadside was lined with multi-colored wildflowers, mostly Dame’s rocket. I had to drive with the windows down – their fragrance was intoxicating. [Photo of Dame’s rocket by Steve Stanne.] – Tom Lake, T.R. Jackson

[One of the signs of the waning spring season is the appearance of Dame’s rocket along the river and its tributaries. This non-native wildflower comes in white, pink, violet, and purple. Carried by spring breezes, its wonderfully sweet fragrance fills the air from mid-May through early June. Tom Lake.]

5/28 – Croton Point, HRM 34.5: There was a single ring-necked pheasant, first seen three weeks ago, still on the prowl at Croton Point. It is amazing how it has survived while carrying its own neon invitation to dine.
– Larry Trachtenberg

SPRING/SUMMER 2014 NATURAL HISTORY PROGRAMS

June 14: 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Family Fishing Day at Norrie Point Environmental Center, Staatsburg [Dutchess County]. All ages welcome to this free program; rods, reels, and bait provided. Wheelchair accessible. For information: 845-889-4745 x109.

June 18, 7:00 p.m.
The Hudson River Before Henry: Hudson River Ecology after the Ice Age, presented by Tom Lake, NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program naturalist and archaeologist, at the Lake Luzerne Public Library [Saratoga County]. For information, email Cynthia LaBarge.

June 19: 12:00 noon
Hudson Valley Bald Eagles: Our Greatest Ecological Recovery, presented by Tom Lake, NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program naturalist, at the Saratoga Springs Public Library, 49 Henry Street, Saratoga Springs [Saratoga County]. For information, email Chris Alexander or Tom Lake   [email protected]

June 19, 7:00 p.m.
The Lives and Legends of Hudson River Fishes, presented by Tom Lake, NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program naturalist, at the Saratoga Springs Public Library, 49 Henry Street, Saratoga Springs [Saratoga County]. For information, email Chris Alexander or Tom Lake.

TO CONTRIBUTE YOUR OBSERVATIONS OR TO SUBSCRIBE

The Hudson River Almanac is compiled and edited by Tom Lake and emailed weekly by Steve Stanne, education coordinator at DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program. Share your observations by e-mailing them to  [email protected].

To subscribe to the Almanac (or to unsubscribe), go to DEC’s Email Lists page, enter your email address, and click on “Submit.” A page listing available subscription topics will appear. Scroll down; under the heading “Natural Areas and Wildlife” is the section “Lakes and Rivers” with a listing for the Hudson River Almanac. Click on the check box to subscribe. While there, you may wish to subscribe to RiverNet, which covers projects, events and actions related to the Hudson and its watershed, or to other DEC newsletters and information feeds.

  1. Hudson River Almanac archive allows one to use the DEC website’s search engine to find species, locations, and other data in weekly issues dating back to October 2003.
  2. New York State Conservationist – the award-winning, advertisement-free magazine focusing on New York State’s great outdoors and natural resources. Conservationist features stunning photography, informative articles and around-the-state coverage.

USEFUL LINKS

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s high and low tide and tidal current predictions are invaluable for planning boating, fishing, and other excursions on and along the estuary.

  1. Hudson River Environmental Conditions Observing System [HRECOS] provides near real-time information on water and weather conditions at monitoring stations from Manhattan to the Mohawk River.

Information on the movements of the salt front is available on the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hudson River Salt Front website.

New smartphone app available for New York outdoor enthusiasts!
DEC, in partnership with ParksByNature Network®, is proud to announce the launch of the New York Fishing, Hunting & Wildlife App for iPhone and Android. This FREE, cutting-edge mobile app gives both novice and seasoned outdoorsmen and women essential information in the palm of their hands. Powered by Pocket Ranger® technology, this official app for DEC will provide up-to-date information on fishing, hunting and wildlife watching and serve as an interactive outdoor app using today’s leading mobile devices. Using the app’s advanced GPS features, users will be able identify and locate New York’s many hunting, fishing and wildlife watching sites. They will also gain immediate access to species profiles, rules and regulations, and important permits and licensing details.

NY Open for Hunting and Fishing Initiative
Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This initiative includes streamlining fishing and hunting licenses, reducing license fees, improving access for fishing and increasing hunting opportunities in New York State.
In support of this initiative, this year’s budget includes $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have gone largely untapped until now. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the state’s fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State.
This year’s budget also reduces short-term fishing licenses fees; increases the number of authorized statewide free fishing days to eight from two; authorizes DEC to offer 10 days of promotional prices for hunting, fishing and trapping licenses; and authorizes free Adventure Plates for new lifetime license holders, discounted Adventure Plates for existing lifetime license holders and regular fee Adventure Plates for annual license holders.

Copies of past issues of the Hudson River Almanac, Volumes II-VIII, are available for purchase from the publisher,Purple Mountain Press(800) 325-2665.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hudson River Almanac May 15 – 21 2014

Friday, 30 May 2014 16:44   Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail       Submit Hudson River Almanac May 15 - 21 2014 in Delicious Submit Hudson River Almanac May 15 - 21 2014 in Digg Submit Hudson River Almanac May 15 - 21 2014 in FaceBook Submit Hudson River Almanac May 15 - 21 2014 in Google Bookmarks Submit Hudson River Almanac May 15 - 21 2014 in Stumbleupon Submit Hudson River Almanac May 15 - 21 2014 in Technorati Submit Hudson River Almanac May 15 - 21 2014 in Twitter

Compiled by Tom Lake, Hudson River Estuary Program Naturalist

OVERVIEW

The spring spawning run of river herring (and by association, American shad) continued. Bald eagle nests (minimally two dozen) along the watershed were busy with eaglets that were feathering out and growing larger day-by day, appetites included. The impressive spring northern migration of brant, tens of thousands of birds, began this week.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK

5/17 – Orange County: Over the last two days, the Edgar A. Mearns Bird Club held its annual “Break 100,” a 24-hour day of birding, with a goal of merely enjoying a day with friends and to surpass 100 species of birds identified. There were nineteen participants and the count area included all of Orange County. The total number of species was 155, including 29 warblers, with team-tallies ranging from 89 to 139 birds. One new species for the event was Steve Schuyler’s ruddy turnstone on the mud flats at Cornwall Bay (HRM 58). This was only the third time this species has been seen in Orange County; the other two sightings were fall migrants found in the Black Dirt area near Pine Island.
– Curt McDermott

NATURAL HISTORY NOTES

 5/15 – Rensselaer County, HRM 129: I went searching for river herring and came upon scap-netters at the mouth of Mill Creek. I also was able to see a prime example of dams-as-barriers to migration: A hen mallard tried three times to get her ducklings to follow her up a dam and into the water beyond, but the chicks were not strong enough to follow. [Photo of ducklings courtesy Andrew Meyer.]

– Andrew Meyer

 

 

unnamed

 

 

[Scap-nets are a low-tech traditional method of catching fish, primarily river herring. Until the last half of the twentieth century, there was a springtime scap-netting cottage industry of pickling herring and suckers. The basic equipment is a stout, forked branch with a square, small-mesh seine net fastened to the forked ends (DEC regulations, for recreational use and only on the mainstem river, limit the size of the net to no more than sixteen square-feet in area). The net is lowered into the water and then sharply raised as fish swim over the top. A “stoolie” is often used to increase the catch. A stoolie is a colloquial name given to a fish that is tethered to a line and let swim free for the purpose of attracting others near enough to be netted. In defense of the stoolie, they hardly have a choice in the matter. – Tom Lake]

5/15 – Milan HRM 90: We had a visit from a black bear last night. I did not see it, but the destruction to the bird feeders and the disappearance of the suet feeders was pretty good evidence. It seems every May they make visit before I can react.
– Marty Otter

5/15 – Moodna Creek, HRM 58: The muggy morning featured swarms of swallows (tree swallows/barn swallows) and clouds of blackflies. In a three-hour search along Moodna Creek, more than a mile upstream from the Hudson, I saw only a single river herring. I saw that herring in silhouette as it tried to make its way over the lip of a low dam (in profile it was an alewife), failed, and fell back.
– Tom Lake

[Blackflies (Ceratopogonidae), known colloquially as “no-see-ums,” are a family of small biting flies (adults are less than two millimeters [mm] long). Unlike mosquitoes, blackfly bites tend to be unnoticed when they occur. However, the next day extremely itchy lumps, bumps, and welts arise that can last for a week and cause much discomfort. Blackflies are the absolute bane of the Adirondack High Peaks hiker from mid-May until the summer heat of July. – Tom Lake]

5/15 – Yonkers, HRM 18: I stopped today at a very small and out-of-the way place and came upon a northern flicker’s nest in a tree cavity. As I watched, I photographed an adult coming out of the nest with an egg in its mouth. After moving the egg, the flicker went back in and began renovating. [Photo of northern flicker courtesy Jeff Seneca.] – Jeff Seneca

 

unnamed

 

The consensus of opinion by several other birders, after viewing Jeff’s three excellent digital images, is that the flicker was moving its nest. While it was a consensus, it was not unanimous, since this seemed to be an unusual occurrence. – Tom Lake]

5/16 – Poestenkill, HRM 151.5: I saw river herring in the Poestenkill today, tens of them, maybe more than a hundred at the first partial barrier in the heart of Troy. Alewives were spawning and flopping all over the bedrock. Later I spotted some of them in the stream above the barrier and two more up under the next bridge, suggesting that this is only a partial barrier to upstream herring migration.
– Andrew Meyer

5/16 – Town of Poughkeepsie: Day 46. The nestlings in eagle nest NY62 were now the size of chickens. Momma brought a brown bullhead to the nest in midday amidst a drenching downpour (2.03 inches).
– Tom Lake, T.R. Jackson

The spring spawning run of river herring (and by association, American shad) continued. Bald eagle nests (minimally two dozen) along the watershed were busy with eaglets that were feathering out and growing larger day-by day, appetites included. The impressive spring northern migration of brant, tens of thousands of birds, began this week.

5/15 – Milan HRM 90: We had a visit from a black bear last night. I did not see it, but the destruction to the bird feeders and the disappearance of the suet feeders was pretty good evidence. It seems every May they make visit before I can react.
– Marty Otter

5/15 – Moodna Creek, HRM 58: The muggy morning featured swarms of swallows (tree swallows/barn swallows) and clouds of blackflies. In a three-hour search along Moodna Creek, more than a mile upstream from the Hudson, I saw only a single river herring. I saw that herring in silhouette as it tried to make its way over the lip of a low dam (in profile it was an alewife), failed, and fell back.
– Tom Lake

[Blackflies (Ceratopogonidae), known colloquially as “no-see-ums,” are a family of small biting flies (adults are less than two millimeters [mm] long). Unlike mosquitoes, blackfly bites tend to be unnoticed when they occur. However, the next day extremely itchy lumps, bumps, and welts arise that can last for a week and cause much discomfort. Blackflies are the absolute bane of the Adirondack High Peaks hiker from mid-May until the summer heat of July. – Tom Lake]

5/16 – Poestenkill, HRM 151.5: I saw river herring in the Poestenkill today, tens of them, maybe more than a hundred at the first partial barrier in the heart of Troy. Alewives were spawning and flopping all over the bedrock. Later I spotted some of them in the stream above the barrier and two more up under the next bridge, suggesting that this is only a partial barrier to upstream herring migration.
– Andrew Meyer

5/16 – Town of Poughkeepsie: Day 46. The nestlings in eagle nest NY62 were now the size of chickens. Momma brought a brown bullhead to the nest in midday amidst a drenching downpour (2.03 inches).
– Tom Lake, T.R. Jackson

5/17 – Red Hook, HRM 96.5: We were thrilled to see a pair of Baltimore orioles in Abrams Park in the hollow near the end of the walkway.
– Bob Haan, Angie Haan

5/17 – Bedford, HRM 35: There was more activity at the great blue heron rookery today (see May 10). Twice an adult flew to a nest to join another adult. At other nests, adults were visible sitting on eggs or with nestlings. The real news was that some eggs have hatched and there may be many more that cannot be seen down in the nests. Some nests are hard to view because they are high up in dead trees hundreds of feet from shore. As the nestlings grow, they will become more visible
– Jim Steck

5/18 – Gardiner, HRM 73: I spotted a single sandhill crane landing in the fields along County Route 7 this morning. It was absolutely amazing!
– Rebecca Houser

5/18 – Verplanck, HRM 40.5: Our first goslings of the season were on Lake Meahagh – three little yellow fluff balls, closely guarded by Momma in the lead and Papa hissing and glaring from the rear.
– Christopher Letts.

5/19 – Constitution Island, HRM 52: There was a late-morning low tide in the river off the south end of Constitution Island and an osprey was hunting. Wheeling above, head canted to one side, it clearly had an idea where the fish might be. We also counted six spotted sandpipers, in their flitting manner, foraging along the shore.
– Tom Lake. T.R. Jackson

5/19 – Croton Point, HRM 34.5: Bobolink magic! It was a lovely morning to listen to one of my favorite bird songs. I saw perhaps two dozen birds and, for the most part, they looked like they were “setting up shop.” Singly and in pairs, there was much singing and aerial displays.
– Christopher Letts

5/20 – Minerva, HRM 284: I was walking my dogs along an access road around my pond accompanied by the intense sound of spring peepers – almost a “jingle bells” sound. I heard two barred owls calling back and forth. One was distant, maybe a quarter of a mile; the other one was in the woods a few hundred yards away. Being one who used to attempt to call owls, I gave it a try. Sadly, I don’t think it worked, but I didn’t scare anyone away and the two owls continued to call back and forth. The dogs as usual, were oblivious.
– Mike Corey

5/20 – Millbrook, HRM 82: We have a fox family that lives in the woods beyond my donkeys’ paddock and have young every spring. They run freely on my property and today I saw five kits drinking out of the donkeys’ trough.      – Eve Propp

5/20 – Ulster County, HRM 80: While kayaking along the west bank of the Hudson, a pair of bald eagles, one adult and one immature, flew over me and disappeared into the foliage. A few minutes later the adult flew out and landed in a dead tree. Three minutes later the immature joined the adult. There they sat as I drifted past them. I was surprised to see the adult and the immature flying and then perching together. Is that common?
– Mike Heller

 

 

unnamed

 

[It is difficult to know the circumstances. The adult might have been a non-breeder or the immature might have been last year’s fledge. Adult males have been known to “recruit” immature females with the loss of a mated female. Of course it simply could have been a tolerant adult not fazed by the closeness of an immature. – Tom Lake]

5/20 – Kowawese, HRM 59: Eighth-grade science students from Storm King School helped us sample the river at Kowawese, in the shadow of Storm King Mountain. While our 85-foot-long seine caught many pumpkinseed sunfish, white perch, spottail shiners, tessellated darters, and shoestring eels,” the most interesting were the striped bass. All of those caught were yearlings, (second-year fish), but their total length ranged from 55 to 135 mm. While all were born in 2013, the wide range in length spoke of their protracted spawning season, late April to early July. The in-shore shallow were a toasty 66 degrees Farenheit (F).
– Emily Boronkay, Tom Lake, T.R. Jackson

[A protracted or extended spawning season seems to be an adaptation, a result of natural selection, for survival. In an unpredictable environment like an estuary, it makes sense “to not lay all your eggs in one basket,” that is to say, over a short period of time. – Tom Lake]

5/20 – Manhattan, HRM 12.5: Last week was New York City Wildflower Week, and the date was well chosen. However, the changes from a week ago were striking at Inwood Hill Park. Lily-of the valley was blooming; lesser celandine that lines the path up through the Clove had no more blossoms but up on the ridge the “true” celandine had many. The white starlike flowers of false garlic seemed to be everywhere. Herb Robert was now flowering and garlic mustard and Japanese honeysuckle, both considered invasive, were defying efforts to eradicate them. Second-year stalks of garlic mustard were flowering, the first-year basal leaves were abundant, and honeysuckle buds were opening. Tiny flowers of field peppergrass were also open and a few small clumps of Spanish bluebells were bright spots in the woods. Of particular delight was the exquisite little flowers of Kenilworth ivy which, true to its name, was growing in a wall. The lilac bush at the Overlook was also in bloom.
– Thomas Shoesmith

5/21 – New Baltimore, HRM 131.5: A flock of brant went by Coeymans Landing this evening.
– Richard Guthrie

5/21 – RamsHorn, HRM 112.5: During our birding walk at RamsHorn Sanctuary today, two hundred brant flew over. Later in the day, another larger flock went over Brandow Point, four miles upriver.
– Larry Federman

[Naturalist Dery Bennett used to mark the seasons by noting how brant, a small species of goose, left Sandy Hook, NJ, around Memorial Day after spending the winter, and headed north. In his words, “they would shove off for the Canadian Arctic where they will breed, fledge young, and then return around Columbus Day.”- Tom Lake]

5/21 – Norrie Point, HRM 85: Our seining in the cove with seventh-graders from Rhinecliff Middle School produced nothing surprising (pumpkinseed and bluegill sunfish, smallmouth bass, spottail shiners, and tessellated darters) until our final haul through the shallows at low tide. This time when the net’s bag spilled, there were glass eels. Somehow we had managed to capture these small, thin, translucent eels that look more like linguini than fish. The river was 61F.
-Caitlin Zinsley, Tom Lake

5/21 – Ulster County, HRM 76: A northern harrier was on the Kerhonkson Rail Trail busy with a freshly killed squirrel. As I approached it flew away, prudently taking the squirrel with it. It did not gain much altitude due to the weight of the cargo but managed to fly off into the woods at a height of about three feet off the ground.
– Sarah Underhill

5/21 – Town of Poughkeepsie: Day 52. The NY62 eaglets were rooster-size now and quite active. The adults were spending much less time in the nest, but usually perched close by. It is not uncommon for both adults to leave for short periods to hunt for themselves and their young. As the nestlings grow, their demands to be fed will become quite overbearing for the adults. [Photo of bald eagle with catfish courtesy Tom McDowell.] – Tom Lake

5/21 – Furnace Woods, HRM 38.5: The first bush beans of the season broke through the soil and into the sunlight this morning. Up in the sky there arose such a clatter, I looked up from the beans to see what was the matter. A clacking, wavering flock of brant passed over headed north. A few minutes later, another flock went over, altogether perhaps 5,000 birds.
– Christopher Lets

5/21 – Croton-on-Hudson, HRM 35: My yard was a blue lake of ajuga (ground pine, a mint), spotted with golden buttercups and alive with bumble bees. I don’t remember ever seeing so many bumble bees. I always thought that bumble bees wouldn’t sting. I was wrong. Still, when I’m out in the garden I think of the poem by William Butler Yeats, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” and of his idyllic vision of “the bee-loud glade.”
– Robin Fox

 

REQUEST FOR REPORTS OF GOLDEN CLUB

Polgar Fellow Julia Les and Erik Kiviat at Hudsonia and the Bard College Field Station are conducting surveys to determine the conservation status of the rare plant goldenclub (Orontium aquaticum) in Hudson River wetlands from about Barrytown north. We would like to hear from anyone who sees this distinctive plant anywhere on the Hudson River or has seen it in previous years (with the location, date, and roughly how many plants). The plant is most recognizable by its yellow stalks. There is a particular mystery about whether, or where, goldenclub occurs at Stockport Flats, but we also want to know about your sightings elsewhere. Please contact Erik Kiviat   [email protected] or Julia Les   [email protected] . [Photo of golden club courtesy Steve Stanne.]

SPRING 2014 NATURAL HISTORY PROGRAMS

Friday, June 13
Reptiles and Amphibians of the Hudson River, Hudsonia one-day workshop at Norrie Point Environmental Center, Staatsburg [Dutchess County]. The workshop will cover identification, habitats, survey techniques, threats, and conservation of the species found along the Hudson River estuary and throughout the region. The workshop is designed for planners, policy-makers, regulators, conservationists, researchers, and students and is relevant throughout the northeastern states. The instructors have extensive experience with the herpetofauna and habitats of estuarine, inland wetland, and upland environments. For information or to register please contact Erik Kiviat   [email protected] .

Saturday, June 14, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Family Fishing Day at Norrie Point Environmental Center, Staatsburg [Dutchess County]. All ages welcome to this free program; rods, reels, and bait provided. Wheelchair accessible. For information: 845-889-4745 x109

June 18, 7:00 p.m.
The Hudson River Before Henry: Hudson River Ecology after the Ice Age, presented by Tom Lake, NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program naturalist and archaeologist, at the Lake Luzerne Public Library [Saratoga County]. For information, email Cynthia LaBarge   [email protected] .

June 19, 12:00 noon
Hudson Valley Bald Eagles: Our Greatest Ecological Recovery, presented by Tom Lake, NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program naturalist, at Saratoga Springs Public Library. For information contact Chris Alexander (  [email protected]) or Tom Lake   [email protected] .

June 19, 7:00 p.m.
The Lives and Legends of Hudson River Fishes, presented by Tom Lake, NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program naturalist, at Saratoga Springs Public Library.  For information contact Chris Alexander (  [email protected]) or Tom Lake   [email protected] .

HUDSON RIVER MILES

The Hudson is measured north from Hudson River Mile 0 at the Battery at the southern tip of Manhattan. The George Washington Bridge is at HRM 12, the Tappan Zee 28, Bear Mountain 47, Beacon-Newburgh 62, Mid-Hudson 75, Kingston-Rhinecliff 95, Rip Van Winkle 114, and the Federal Dam at Troy, the head of tidewater, at 153. The tidal section of the Hudson constitutes a bit less than half the total distance – 315 miles – from Lake Tear of the Clouds to the Battery. Entries from points east and west in the watershed reference the corresponding river mile on the mainstem.

TO CONTRIBUTE YOUR OBSERVATIONS OR TO SUBSCRIBE

The Hudson River Almanac is compiled and edited by Tom Lake and emailed weekly by Steve Stanne, education coordinator at DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program. Share your observations by e-mailing them to   [email protected].

To subscribe to the Almanac (or to unsubscribe), go to DEC’s Email Lists page, enter your email address, and click on “Submit.” A page listing available subscription topics will appear. Scroll down; under the heading “Natural Areas and Wildlife” is the section “Lakes and Rivers” with a listing for the Hudson River Almanac. Click on the check box to subscribe. While there, you may wish to subscribe to RiverNet, which covers projects, events and actions related to the Hudson and its watershed, or to other DEC newsletters and information feeds.

The Hudson River Almanac archive allows one to use the DEC website’s search engine to find species, locations, and other data in weekly issues dating back to October 2003.

Discover New York State Conservationist – the award-winning, advertisement-free magazine focusing on New York State’s great outdoors and natural resources. Conservationist features stunning photography, informative articles and around-the-state coverage.

USEFUL LINKS

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s high and low tide and tidal current predictions are invaluable for planning boating, fishing, and other excursions on and along the estuary.

The Hudson River Environmental Conditions Observing System [HRECOS] provides near real-time information on water and weather conditions at monitoring stations from Manhattan to the Mohawk River.

Information on the movements of the salt front is available on the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hudson River Salt Front website.

New smartphone app available for New York outdoor enthusiasts!

DEC, in partnership with ParksByNature Network®, is proud to announce the launch of the New York Fishing, Hunting & Wildlife App for iPhone and Android. This FREE, cutting-edge mobile app gives both novice and seasoned outdoorsmen and women essential information in the palm of their hands. Powered by Pocket Ranger® technology, this official app for DEC will provide up-to-date information on fishing, hunting and wildlife watching and serve as an interactive outdoor app using today’s leading mobile devices. Using the app’s advanced GPS features, users will be able identify and locate New York’s many hunting, fishing and wildlife watching sites. They will also gain immediate access to species profiles, rules and regulations, and important permits and licensing details.

NY Open for Hunting and Fishing Initiative

Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This initiative includes streamlining fishing and hunting licenses, reducing license fees, improving access for fishing and increasing hunting opportunities in New York State.

In support of this initiative, this year’s budget includes $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have gone largely untapped until now. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the state’s fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State.

This year’s budget also reduces short-term fishing licenses fees; increases the number of authorized statewide free fishing days to eight from two; authorizes DEC to offer 10 days of promotional prices for hunting, fishing and trapping licenses; and authorizes free Adventure Plates for new lifetime license holders, discounted Adventure Plates for existing lifetime license holders and regular fee Adventure Plates for annual license holders.

Copies of past issues of the Hudson River Almanac, Volumes II-VIII, are available for purchase from the publisher, Purple Mountain Press, (800) 325-2665.

 

 

 

 

Public Invited to Comment on Scope of Environmental Assessment for Proposed Turbidity Control in Water Diverted From Ashokan Reservoir

Wednesday, 09 April 2014 14:07   Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail     Submit Public Invited to Comment on Scope of Environmental Assessment for Proposed Turbidity Control in Water Diverted From Ashokan Reservoir in Delicious Submit Public Invited to Comment on Scope of Environmental Assessment for Proposed Turbidity Control in Water Diverted From Ashokan Reservoir in Digg Submit Public Invited to Comment on Scope of Environmental Assessment for Proposed Turbidity Control in Water Diverted From Ashokan Reservoir in FaceBook Submit Public Invited to Comment on Scope of Environmental Assessment for Proposed Turbidity Control in Water Diverted From Ashokan Reservoir in Google Bookmarks Submit Public Invited to Comment on Scope of Environmental Assessment for Proposed Turbidity Control in Water Diverted From Ashokan Reservoir in Stumbleupon Submit Public Invited to Comment on Scope of Environmental Assessment for Proposed Turbidity Control in Water Diverted From Ashokan Reservoir in Technorati Submit Public Invited to Comment on Scope of Environmental Assessment for Proposed Turbidity Control in Water Diverted From Ashokan Reservoir in Twitter

splashComments Accepted Until July 8

Residents and environmentalists in the Hudson Valley have been concerned about turbidity in various water bodies ranging from the Ashokan to the Kensico Reservoirs. The DEC is putting together a draft scope of the Environmental Impact Statement for these water bodies and they want your input.

From the DEC’s office:

Comments are now being accepted on the draft scope for the Environmental Impact Statement to be prepared for methods to control turbidity in the portion of the New York City Watershed known as the Catskill Water Supply System and for the evaluation of potential impacts to both the Ashokan Reservoir, lower Esopus Creek and Kensico Reservoir, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today.

“These public information sessions and public comment period are just the first opportunity the public will have to provide input on what methods will be proposed and evaluated to control turbidity in these important waterways,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said. “DEC will engage the public in every step of this process.”

In May, DEC will hold four public information sessions on what is known as the scoping documents for the project. The purpose of the scope essentially is to outline what environmental factors must be included in a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), the document that will eventually guide the review of the proposed methods.

The scoping process has six objectives, including to:

  • focus the DEIS on the potentially significant adverse environmental impacts;
  • identify the extent and quality of information needed;
  • identify the range of reasonable alternatives to be discussed;
  • provide an initial identification of mitigation measures;
  • provide the public with an opportunity to participate in the identification of impacts; and
  • eliminate non-significant and non-relevant issues.

DEC looks for comments that relate directly to the draft scope or items which may have been omitted from the draft scoping documents. DEC is lead agency in the environmental review and has determined that the proposed modification to incorporate measures to control turbidity in water diverted from Ashokan Reservoir and to postpone dredging of alum floc at Kensico Reservoir until completion of certain infrastructure projects may have a significant adverse impact on the environment and a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) must be prepared.

The first public information sessions will be held on May 12 at the Ulster County Community College in the Student Lounge, Cottekill Road in Stone Ridge and will be broken into two sessions, one beginning at 3 p.m. and the other at 6 p.m. A second session will be held on May 14 at the Mt. Pleasant Town Hall, 1 Town Hall Plaza in Valhalla. This session will be also be broken in to two sessions, one beginning at 3 p.m. and the other at 6 p.m.

 The draft scope is available at the DEC’s website. It is also available for review locally at the following locations:

Department of Environmental Conservation New Paltz Office
21 South Putt Corners
New Paltz, NY 12561

Department of Environmental Conservation White Plains Sub-Office
100 Hillside Avenue, Suite 1W
White Plains, NY 10603-2860

New York City Department of Environmental Protection Office
465 Columbus Avenue
Valhalla, NY 10595-1336

New York City Department of Environmental Protection Office
71 Smith Avenue
Kingston, NY 12401

Comments on the draft scope will be accepted until the close of business on July 8. The public can send written comments via E-mail, fax or regular mail. Email comments should be sent to:   [email protected]. Hard copies can be sent to: Stephen Tomasik, NYS DEC, Division of Environmental Permits, 625 Broadway, 4th Floor, Albany, NY 12233-1750. Fax number is: (518) 402-9168.

 

 

 

 

Hudson River Almanac March 1 – 6, 2014

Thursday, 13 March 2014 10:11  Attention: open in a new window.PDFPrintE-mail     Submit Hudson River Almanac March 1 - 6, 2014 in Delicious Submit Hudson River Almanac March 1 - 6, 2014 in Digg Submit Hudson River Almanac March 1 - 6, 2014 in FaceBook Submit Hudson River Almanac March 1 - 6, 2014 in Google Bookmarks Submit Hudson River Almanac March 1 - 6, 2014 in Stumbleupon Submit Hudson River Almanac March 1 - 6, 2014 in Technorati Submit Hudson River Almanac March 1 - 6, 2014 in Twitter


Compiled by Tom Lake, Hudson River Estuary Program Naturalist

OVERVIEW

Ice boating was back on the Hudson River this week as a result of our extremely cold and snowy winter, and the efforts of experienced and energetic ice boaters.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK

3/6 – Astor Point, HRM 97: In mid-afternoon we were sailing my iceboat Boreas off Astor Point where the iceboat fleet is now located. In the middle of the river we flushed a snowy owl that was sitting on the ice. It flew a few hundred feet and then landed on a snow hummock right in the middle of the river, where it walked about fifteen feet to stand near a small log imbedded in the ice. Four boats were in the area and sailing by in medium-light winds. The owl blended in perfectly with the grayish snow and ice and sat there while the boats passed within 50-60 feet of it, probably unaware of its presence. I took four passes with passengers aboard, keeping a respectable distance. The owl rotated around as boats went by, keeping an eye on them, but did not seem agitated. After a half-hour of this, the owl lifted off and flew southwest, crossing the channel and settling on the ice near the west side, safe from the iceboats.
– Steve Schwartz, Sarah Underhill

NATURAL HISTORY NOTES

Occasionally we must back up a bit to capture one or more important entries from a previous week; such is the case for this first Almanac of March.

2/24 – Newcomb, HRM 302: The past two days were a welcome respite from the cold temperatures we have had in February. We saw the mercury hit 40 degrees Fahrenheit. I’m sure those two lovely days resulted in the two European starlings that arrived at my bird feeder this morning. With temperatures back at 20 degrees F today, I bet they are regretting their reconnaissance mission to the north. There are only fourteen inches of snow on the ground, but it has a hard crust – not hard enough to walk on but certainly an impediment to grouse that want to snow roost and small mammals trying to gain access to the subnivian [the thin layer of air between the snow pack and the ground/vegetation] environment. Despite the cold, I am hearing chickadees give their mating “phoebe” call. Spring can’t be too far behind.
– Charlotte Demers

2/24 – Glasco, HRM 100: Looking across the Hudson to Magdalen Island, I saw a large dark shape out on the ice. It moved and I thought “bald eagle” fishing in the open channel. Then the fur on my dog Nina’s back ridged as she sensed something else. It was a coyote running full-tilt northward along the edge of the island. We watched through binoculars for an hour as it raced north, then south, probably seeking a way across. With luck the coyote reached the eastern shore. I wonder if the increase in river traffic – oil tankers, tugs, and barges – makes it harder for the wildlife that cross the river?
– Betty Boomer

2/24 – Highland Falls, HRM 47: We live on the river just below Con Hook Marsh. As I drove into our driveway today, I was startled by a very large bird flying away. The spot the bird had left was littered with feathers, wings, and legs – the remains of an immature Cooper’s hawk. While we could not tell how the hawk died, we are pretty certain that the scavenger was an immature bald eagle.
– Nancy Judd

3/1- Stillwater, HRM 171.5: We came upon a male Barrow’s goldeneye among many common goldeneye at Blockhouse Park in Stillwater. It was near the far shore, directly across from the park. There was also a male red-breasted merganser.
– John Kent, Scott Stoner (Hudson Mohawk Bird Club)

3/1 – Mohawk River, HRM 157: We counted four red-breasted mergansers, three drakes and a hen, this morning at the Crescent Power Plant near Cohoes. The redhead ducks and greater scaup continue on as well.
– Tom Williams (HMBC)

 

unnamed

 

3/1 – Dutchess County, HRM 96.5: It was a historic day and conditions were perfect for ice-boating once again on the Hudson River. At least 50 iceboats, from the antique to very modern, had gathered at the shoreline of Rokeby Farm to put up their sails and try out the frozen reaches of the Hudson. Steve Schwartz gave me a thrilling ride on his boat, Boreas. Afterwards, I walked across the frozen river to get closer to a tanker barge being pushed slowly down the western side by two tugs, through a very narrow channel of open water. People set up chairs and stoves on the ice, and dogs were having a great time chasing each other around the boats and equipment. [Photo of ice yacht Jack Frost by Emily Vail.] – Susan Rich

[The old adage goes, “Early season snows bring late season ice boating.” The possibility of ice formation begins with water temperatures lowered to near freezing by early season snows. After the water temperature is very close to freezing, sub-zero temperatures are required to build at least a two-inch thickness of ice between tide cycles. At this thickness, the ice is sometimes (without a strong wind) able to resist tidal forces and lock onto the shore.
According to another old adage, “Temperatures below 10 degrees F will build an inch of ice a night.” So we were in luck; perfect conditions in January resulted in six inches of beautiful black ice, the strongest, due to lack of air entrainment.
The early beautiful ice did not last, however. Storms and high winds from the west broke up the ice and piled it in hummocks, impossible to sail on, locked in place by subsequent cold. Warm weather eliminated some of this, and then it snowed. And snowed. The weight of the snow was sufficient to “sink” the ice sheet. Flooded from below, the snow quickly turned to more ice and with cold temperatures, this added to the original thickness. The rough ice eventually submerged into the newly formed “snow ice,” nearly as smooth as the original black ice. With these conditions, perfect sailing was to be had on near-perfect ice. Robert Wills.] [This YouTube video captures the unique ice-boating event made possible by our cold, snowy winter. Steve Stanne.]

3/1 – Rhinecliff, HRM 92: Off Rhinecliff dock this morning, I watched a flock of more than 50 common mergansers, swimming in an open area of water among the ice floes. Another larger flock of dark-colored birds that I could not identify was farther out.
– Susan Rich

3/1 – Town of Poughkeepsie: Incubation Day 5 at eagle nest NY62. The female arrived back in the nest in midday to relieve the male from incubation duty. Mom settled down to resume her shift.
– Terry Hardy, Tom McDowell

[The adult eagles share incubation duties with the female covering the eggs about 18 of the 24 hours in a day. This ratio is not fixed and variations are common. In times of stressful weather, the female will tough it out. The air temperature dropped to 0 degrees F overnight, a record low for the date. Tom Lake.]

3/1 – Milan HRM 90: I watched from my kitchen table as a squirrel took, one-by-one, the buds off my rhododendrons outside the window. Our deer fence is not much use against them.
– Marty Otter

3/1 – Town of Montgomery, HRM 62: The last week of February gave me hope that winter was losing its grip. Two bluebirds visited my feeders (very unusual), I smelled a skunk, and a beaver has been going back and forth in a lowland wooded area just beyond my back yard.
– Pat Offerman

3/2 – Saratoga County, HRM 195: In the month that just ended, I had two male bluebirds – at Edinburg on the Great Sacandaga Lake – on branches of my maple tree. This was the earliest I have seen a bluebird in twenty years of maintaining my nine bluebird boxes on two separate ten-acre fields. We also had a snowy owl earlier this winter on the shore of the Great Sacandaga Lake.
– Curtis Mills

3/2 – Stillwater, HRM 171.5: I spent some time today looking for the Barrow’s goldeneye, without luck but, as a consolation, I had two drake canvasbacks and two Iceland gulls from Admiral’s Marina.
– John Hershey (HMBC)

3/2 – Saratoga County, HRM 171: I found the male canvasbacks John Hershey reported just upriver of the Route 125 bridge. There was also a red-necked grebe feeding close to shore, among greater scaup, ring-necked ducks, common goldeneye, and several pairs of hooded mergansers.
– Gregg Recer (HMBC)

3/2 – Delmar, HRM 143: This morning at the Five Rivers Environmental Education Center, we had three purple finches and 23 cedar waxwings feeding on crabapples in the orchard behind the Goose Lodge. We also had two “croaking” ravens flying over as well.
– Tom Williams (HMBC)

3/2 – Pleasant Valley, HRM 82: I heard a red-winged blackbird calling in the swamp today – a nice harbinger of spring despite the snow cover.
– Kathy Kraft

3/2 – Pine Bush, HRM 65: I took a picturesque walk today over the Blue and Red trails at the Pine Bush Great Dune. Highlights included a brown creeper traveling around low on the snowy forest floor and two golden-crowned kinglets. What a place to spend a sunny day with tall trees blocking the wind and the sun beating down on the trail!
– Deb Ferguson

3/2 – Verplanck, HRM 40.5: I had my first long-tailed duck on the river side of Westchester County in quite a few years. At least 50 bald eagles were perched, soaring, and riding the ice floes within a couple of miles of here.
– Larry Trachtenberg

3/2 – Croton River, HRM 34: I stopped by the mouth of the Croton River at low tide and there was a gorgeous drake green-winged teal – my first of the season – in the rivulet behind the train station.
– Larry Trachtenberg

3/2 – Croton Bay, HRM 34: I counted twenty immature bald eagles on the low tide sandbars. Many were feeding on striped bass and white perch, as were many gulls.
– Tom McDowell

 

 

unnamed

 

3/3 – Palenville, HRM 111: I usually do not post entries about the regular feeder birds, but yesterday and today we have had ten purple finches at our feeders: eight females and two juvenile males. Through the winter we’ve had a maximum of only two.
– Larry Federman

[An experienced birder, Larry points out that purple finches and house finches can easily be confused. The red coloration of male house finches tends to be concentrated on the crown and breast. Male purple finches are usually raspberry red, with the color extending over more of the body. Steve Stanne. Photo of male house finch (left) by Lee Karney; photo of male purple finch (right) by Dr. Thomas G. Barnes; both courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.]

3/3 – Norrie Point, HRM 85: The three Mid-Hudson Valley bald eagle nests that I keep tabs on (NY142, NY143, NY261) were all incubating eggs. The start dates ranged from 2/24 to 3/1.
– Dave Lindemann

3/3 – Town of Poughkeepsie: The “changing of the guard” for the adults in bald eagle nest NY62 seems to have settled into a first light, mid-morning, and mid-afternoon schedule. The male, who had relieved the female at first light, was replaced by the female after a break of about four hours.
– Tom McDowell

[As each adult is relieved, they head river-ward to hunt and forage. This 32-35 day incubating activity period requires enormous energy. Tom Lake.]

3/3 – New Hamburg, HRM 67.5: On the ebb tide today, the “polar ice cap” that had held Rabbit Island in its grip for nearly two months relaxed its hold on the land and floated silently toward Manhattan. An intact ice sheet acres in size and a foot thick in many spots became just another floating passenger now governed by the inexorable pull of the tide. The moment of separation was a majestic spectacle which we watched in awe. No sooner had the ice departed than we were visited by a flotilla of ducks, a dozen common mergansers intermingled with a pair of wood ducks, the female with her distinctive white eye ring and the male in gorgeous iridescent headgear. They paddled serenely around the edge of the island for a long time before leaving to explore the newly opened expanse of water. It’s been a tough winter but this sighting was a boost for our morale.
– David Cullen

3/3 – Goshen, HRM 52: Throughout most of the morning, four blue jays took turns attacking the backyard feeder, scattering the sparrows and a starling that returned to the feeder when the jays took a break. However, nothing could keep away the cardinals that have been feeding there all winter.
– John M. Zahradnik

3/3 – Manhattan, HRM 4.5: I went along the Hudson at Riverside Park South late in the day and found a female common goldeneye and a female red-breasted merganser very close to the shore. In the park there was a modest number of robins, common grackles, and at least one brown-headed cowbird, but only a very few red-winged blackbirds. I was checking the area to see if the single canvasback was still around (was not). While common goldeneye is not rare around Manhattan, neither is it really common. Red-breasted mergansers are far more regular.
– Tom Fiore

3/4 – Newcomb, HRM 302: We were back to sub-zero overnight temperatures. There has been no sign of the two European starlings that attempted to get a head start on migration last week. But the new bird at the feeder is the evening grosbeak. A flock of about fifteen descended on the feeders this morning. I had received reports of others hearing them locally in the forest but this was my first observation of them this season. Another welcomed sign of the season: a co-worker saw an eastern chipmunk out and about on the surface of the snow yesterday. Male chipmunks are usually the first to arouse in the spring, but this was likely a foray to augment the food cache to stretch it out for these last few winter weeks.
– Charlotte Demers

[The High Peaks, Newcomb in particular, often vibrate with the loud, clear calls of evening grosbeaks as they congregate in the conifers by the score, even hundreds. In his field guide, Roger Tory Peterson called it a “ringing finch-like chirp” that echoes in the cold, still air – unmistakable and nearly unending. Tom Lake.]

3/4 – Hoosick River, HRM 172: I went to check out the open water in the Hoosick, a Hudson River tributary in Washington County. Among the many mallards and black ducks, I came upon a drake and two female northern pintails. A half-dozen goldeneye were nearby. I usually find that the goldeneye stick to the Hudson in that general area.
– David Disiena (HMBC)

3/4 – Schuylerville, HRM 186: I visited Hudson Crossing Park this morning and spotted a female Barrow’s goldeneye hanging out with a female common goldeneye. Other birds on the river included common mergansers, bufflehead, and Canada geese.
– Jim Ries (HMBC)

3/4 – Selkirk, HRM 135: Out at the woodshed this morning it was two degrees below zero. At 5:45, the sun wasn’t up yet, but the sky was brightening. Then I heard “Taweeeet, taweeeet, chirp chirp chirp.” I wasn’t the only one up and out in the cold. [This cardinal’s version of “birdie, birdie, birdie?”] – Roberta Jeracka

3/4 – Town of Poughkeepsie, HRM 68: The overnight air temperature had fallen to 4 degrees F, and even by mid-afternoon, the extreme chill was still in the air. Two dozen students from the Ulster/Dutchess Home-Schooled Girl Scouts were at the Maple Sugar Shack at Bowdoin Park for a demonstration. All the while, for more than a half-hour, an adult bald eagle perched directly overhead, only 60 feet up in a tulip tree, totally at ease with the chatter and enthusiasm of the children.
– Debbie Sheehy, Tom Lake, T.R. Jackson

[After a couple of decades of noting bald eagle behavior, in all seasons, we have come to the conclusion that they are extremely good judges of human character. As evidenced by the schoolchildren in the entry above, even with parents present, the eagle was at ease. I have seen noisy hikers pass directly under an eagle perched low enough to hear their breathing, and show no concern. Then I have witnessed eagles at a distance take flight in a tizzy when some people just look their way. While we may appear harmless and non-threatening to one another, could it be that eagles have some insight into our psyches? Tom Lake.]

3/6 – Newcomb, HRM 302: Thoughts of spring have been frozen out of my mind and body. It was clear blue skies and absolutely beautiful outside this morning, or at least it looked that way from my window with a warm cup of coffee in my hand. Please send us cherry blossoms, robins, and spring peepers!
– Charlotte Demers

3/6 – Stillwater, HRM 171.5: The Thursday Morning Birding Group was able to find the drake Barrow’s goldeneye this morning from Block House Park in Stillwater. Several hundred goldeneyes in the river had been concentrated by a threatening bald eagle, making it easier to find the Barrow’s.
– John Hershey (HMBC)

3/6 – Storm King, HRM 57: In early afternoon, we watched a wintering adult golden eagle at Storm King Mountain. We had missed the bird twice before, both times much earlier in the day. Today the eagle came in and landed about 1:30 p.m., this after we had learned that others had not seen it until later in the day. Also, while we only saw one bird, we have heard that there are two wintering there.
– Eric Miller, Lisa Scheppke, Gary Straus, Arie Gilbert

SPRING 2014 NATURAL HISTORY PROGRAMS

March 20: 7:30 p.m.
After the Ice Age, Life Returns to the Hudson River Valley, presented by Tom Lake, NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program naturalist and archaeologist. In this program for the Town of Washington/Village of Millbrook Historical Society at the Lyall Memorial Federated Church, Millbrook [Dutchess County], we will journey back to “Day One” in the Hudson Valley, when the last of our great Ice Ages ended and life, from fish to elephants to people, reclaimed the land. For information, email Tom Lake.

April 26: 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Family Fishing Day at Norrie Point Environmental Center, Staatsburg [Dutchess County]. All ages welcome to this free program; rods, reels, and bait provided. Wheelchair accessible. For information: 845-889-4745 x109.

REQUEST FOR APPLICATIONS: “LOCAL HUDSON RIVER FISH ADVISORY OUTREACH INITIATIVES”

In 2008, the Hudson River Fish Advisory Outreach Project began a twenty-year initiative with a goal that all Hudson fish and crab consumers know about, understand, and follow the New York State Department of Health Hudson fish advisories. Through a Request for Applications titled “Local Hudson River Fish Advisory Outreach Initiatives,” Health Research, Incorporated and the Department of Health announce the availability of a total of $75,000 to $90,000 per year to develop partnerships with local groups for projects to promote progress towards that goal. The maximum amount per applicant is $15,000 per year. The project area extends 192 miles along the Hudson River from Baker’s Falls in Hudson Falls [Washington County] to the southern tip of the Manhattan Battery in New York City. Applications must serve populations that fish or are likely to eat fish from the Hudson River in Albany, Bronx, Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, New York, Orange, Putnam, Rensselaer, Rockland, Saratoga, Ulster, Washington and/or Westchester counties in New York State. Applications are due on April 9, 2014 by 5:00 p.m. For more information, visit  http://www.healthresearch.org/funding-opportunities/hrfa-14-01.

HUDSON RIVER MILES

The Hudson is measured north from Hudson River Mile 0 at the Battery at the southern tip of Manhattan. The George Washington Bridge is at HRM 12, the Tappan Zee 28, Bear Mountain 47, Beacon-Newburgh 62, Mid-Hudson 75, Kingston-Rhinecliff 95, Rip Van Winkle 114, and the Federal Dam at Troy, the head of tidewater, at 153. The tidal section of the Hudson constitutes a bit less than half the total distance – 315 miles – from Lake Tear of the Clouds to the Battery. Entries from points east and west in the watershed reference the corresponding river mile on the mainstem.

TO CONTRIBUTE YOUR OBSERVATIONS OR TO SUBSCRIBE

The Hudson River Almanac is compiled and edited by Tom Lake and emailed weekly by Steve Stanne, education coordinator at DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program. Share your observations by e-mailing them to   [email protected].

To subscribe to the Almanac (or to unsubscribe), go to DEC’s Email Lists page, enter your email address, and click on “Submit.” A page listing available subscription topics will appear. Scroll down; under the heading “Natural Areas and Wildlife” is the section “Lakes and Rivers” with a listing for the Hudson River Almanac. Click on the check box to subscribe. While there, you may wish to subscribe to RiverNet, which covers projects, events and actions related to the Hudson and its watershed, or to other DEC newsletters and information feeds.

  1. Hudson River Almanac archive allows one to use the DEC website’s search engine to find species, locations, and other data in weekly issues dating back to October 2003.
  2. New York State Conservationist – the award-winning, advertisement-free magazine focusing on New York State’s great outdoors and natural resources. Conservationist features stunning photography, informative articles and around-the-state coverage.

USEFUL LINKS

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s high and low tide and tidal current predictions are invaluable for planning boating, fishing, and other excursions on and along the estuary.

  1. Hudson River Environmental Conditions Observing System [HRECOS] provides near real-time information on water and weather conditions at monitoring stations from Manhattan to the Mohawk River.

Information on the movements of the salt front is available on the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hudson River Salt Front website.

NY Open for Hunting and Fishing Initiative Governor Andrew Cuomo’s NY Open for Hunting and Fishing Initiative is an effort to improve recreational activities for in-state and out-of-state sportsmen and sportswomen and to boost tourism opportunities throughout the state. This initiative includes the streamlining of sporting licenses and reduced fees along with improved access for outdoor pursuits at various sites across the state. In support of this initiative, Governor Cuomo this year has proposed the creation of 50 new land access projects, which will connect those who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have gone untapped until now. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the Governor’s budget includes $4 million to repair the state’s fish hatcheries.

Copies of past issues of the Hudson River Almanac, Volumes II-VIII, are available for purchase from the publisher, Purple Mountain Press(800) 325-2665.

Hudson River Almanac December 5 – 12, 2013

Tuesday, 24 December 2013 08:07Attention: open in a new window.PDFPrintE-mail    Submit Hudson River Almanac December 5 - 12, 2013 in Delicious Submit Hudson River Almanac December 5 - 12, 2013 in Digg Submit Hudson River Almanac December 5 - 12, 2013 in FaceBook Submit Hudson River Almanac December 5 - 12, 2013 in Google Bookmarks Submit Hudson River Almanac December 5 - 12, 2013 in Stumbleupon Submit Hudson River Almanac December 5 - 12, 2013 in Technorati Submit Hudson River Almanac December 5 - 12, 2013 in Twitter

December 5 – 12, 2013
Compiled by Tom Lake, Hudson River Estuary Program Naturalist

OVERVIEW

At this time of year, bird observations dominate the Almanac. Well-insulated and active, they stand out at backyard feeders and in the larger landscape. Among bird observations this week, the snowy owl irruption into the Northeast was again the major focus. In addition to those reported from the Hudson’s watershed, many reports were coming from peripheral areas such as Long Island and northern New Jersey.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK

12/5 – Stanfordville, HRM 84: I had a female Oregon junco under my feeder today. Last year she (or another one) stayed the entire “junco season!” There was also one reported this week in Ulster County.
– Debi Kral

dark_eyed_junco_2013_hra oregon_junco_2013_hra

[The Oregon junco is a regional variety of our common “snowbird” – the dark-eyed junco. There were several Oregon juncos at feeders in Dutchess County during the 1960s, some staying two to three months. The Oregon variety is more of a western bird, but where the two overlap, they successfully inter-breed. This makes a good argument that they are one species, but the taxonomy of the dark-eyed junco (Junco hyemalis) is not without its debates. Barbara Butler. Top: photo of Oregon junco subspecies of dark-eyed junco by Debra Kral; bottom: photo of typical eastern dark-eyed junco, formerly called slate-colored junco, by Jake Dingel/Pennsylvania Game Commission.]

NATURAL HISTORY NOTES

12/5 – Poughquag, Town of Beekman, HRM 71: An interesting goose has come in with a flock of Canada geese for the last two days. Is it a snow goose “blue morph,” or a white- fronted goose, or ???
– Doreen O’Connor

[Accompanying photos stirred up a prolonged debate among several Waterman Bird Club members as to the identity of the mystery goose. Among the candidates that were eventually discounted were barnacle goose, white-fronted goose, and graylag goose. Its orange legs eliminated some possibilities. Eventually a gaggle of experts decided on a hybrid. Even then, was it a Canada cross with a snow goose, or any of the above? Our final and tenuous conclusion was a hybrid Canada/white-fronted goose. Tom Lake.]

12/6 – Town of Wappinger, HRM 67: I watched three black vultures as they rested on a light pole in a parking lot. This was my third sighting of black vultures in the past two weeks.
– Donna Lenhart

12/6 – Ulster County, HRM 78: I counted four short-eared owls in late afternoon at the Shawangunk Grasslands. It was a life bird for me and truly a thrill.
– Martin Carney

[Keeping a “life list” is a popular activity among naturalists, and adding newly-seen species to it is rewarding. Typically these lists are compilations of related species, like postcards from one’s travel through life. Some people keep bird lists; for others it’s fish, flowers, insects, mushrooms, or fungi. Anyone can keep a list of almost anything that ultimately gives them a context and appreciation for the natural world. Tom Lake]

12/6 – Beacon, HRM 61: It was the bottom of the flood tide and the river was just beginning to creep back up on the sand. The beach and the bay were empty but that changed rather abruptly when a large flock of Canada geese (at least 75 birds) did a pirouette overhead and then set down not far offshore. As if they were flying in tandem, a flock of mallards (at least 35 birds) followed them down and landed on their periphery. We had our duck and goose calls with us and were happy to hear the Canadas and mallards occasionally answer us back.
In the sand we found a single shell, a single valve of a bivalve. After some consultation with Dave Strayer, a senior scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, we concluded that it was an invasive species, the Asian clam (Corbicula fluminea). Asian clams were introduced into the United States in 1938. Just a single valve, half of a bivalve, was adequate evidence of its living presence in this reach of the river.
– Tom Lake, T.R. Jackson

[This string of logic from a single valve that provided evidence of a living presence, i.e., one clam requires more clams, reminded me of the meager evidence for the first corn or maize cultivation in the Hudson Valley. Until recently, it was thought to have occurred around AD 1,000. That date was derived from radiocarbon dating of a single charred kernel of corn found by archaeologists near the Roeliff-Jansen’s Kill in Columbia County (HRM 111). And in that instance, one kernel meant one ear; one ear meant one plant; and it followed that more than one plant was required for cross pollination; therefore it was being cultivated. Tom Lake.] [We see the Asian clam everywhere we sample in the Hudson from South Troy to the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge, so far in small numbers. However, it seems to be spreading rapidly. Dave Strayer, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies.]

12/7 – Greene County, HRM 113: We saw a huge white owl on top of Hunter Mountain this morning. I thought it was a gull at first because of its white and gray coloring. However, the flattened face was a dead give-away for an owl, likely a snowy owl. It was airborne as we came into the clearing from the Becker Hollow Trail.
– Eric Scata, Dawn Scata

12/7 – Millbrook, HRM 82: This afternoon I happened to see – very high overhead – a migrant adult golden eagle.
– John Askildsen

12/8 – Newcomb, HRM 302: A large flock of goldfinches, easily more than 130 birds, has been at the feeder the past few weeks. They empty the sunflower feeder about every other day. Other folks feeding the birds in the area are also reporting very large flocks of goldfinches. My past records indicate that they usually stick around for a few weeks in early winter and then go elsewhere, but they seem to be staying longer this year. I’ll have to increase the birdseed expenditure if they decide to stay. Other birds at the feeder include black-capped chickadees, dark-eyed juncos, red-breasted nuthatches, and both downy and hairy woodpeckers. The Hudson River was still mostly open water, with ice in the back bay and a few brave souls ice fishing there.
– Charlotte Demers

12/8 – Dutchess County: Snowy owls have been reported at no fewer than three different locations so far in Dutchess County. One was seen flying towards Bannerman’s Island, another was seen in the Bangall-Amenia area, and one at the Dutchess County Airport. Please remember that even when snowy owls are not on private property, these owls should not be closely approached because many are already very stressed and several have died of starvation.
– Debi Kral

12/9 – Essex County: A snowy owl was struck by a car in the Adirondacks at Keene Valley. When recovered it was found to be emaciated and starving.
– Charlotte Demers

[This location along the Ausable is arguably out of the Hudson River watershed (Lake Champlain watershed) but is used here as another example of the extraordinary snowy owl irruption that has marked this autumn. Tom Lake.]

12/9 – Chelsea, HRM 65.2: It was the morning after an ice storm and rime ice was on the trees, bushes, and shrubs. We walked along the river and as we brushed up against a branch, it sounded like breaking glass. A large flock of common mergansers, almost all drakes, was holding its own not far offshore, playing the wind against the current to stay together.
– Tom Lake, T.R. Jackson

12/9 – Monroe, Orange County, HRM 46: I woke up this morning to black ice on the driveway and a flock of snow geese on Round Lake, just floating quietly together. There were at least 60, with a light gray one in their midst (immature?). I missed their departure; that left just six ruddy ducks that have been here since September.
– Lyn Nelson

12/10 – Ulster County, HRM 78: I arrived at the Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge in mid-afternoon and immediately had a short-eared owl in flight in good light. Over the next two hours I found eight short-ears, four northern harriers, and two red-tailed hawks.
– Ken McDermott

12/10 – Furnace Woods, HRM 38.5: While hauling stove wood to the house on this blowy, cold day, I paused several times to enjoy the ethereal calls of the high flying geese, specks in the blue wintery sky. They had taken note of the forecast: next stop, Delaware Bay.
– Christopher Letts

12/11 – Fishkill, HRM 62: A cold northwest breeze had the wind-chill in single digits in mid-morning, but for these birds it was time to rise. I watched as thirteen black vultures struggled to gain lift from their night roost, executing broad circles barely over tree-top level for several minutes before finally clearing the canopy and drifting south.
– Tom Lake

[Having counted thirteen black vultures, I thought of the folklore and mythology associated with black birds; vultures; and the number 13 (triskaidekaphobia). If I were looking for ominous omens, these would have been adequate. Tom Lake.]

12/11 – Piermont Point. HRM 25: It was real nice to see rafts of black ducks and ruddy ducks in the lee of the point. Red-winged blackbirds were taking advantage of the protected marsh while in close proximity to the bird feeders in town.
– Christopher Letts

12/12 – Norrie Point, HRM 85: The cove outside of the Norrie Point Environmental Education Center was covered in a thin layer of ice for the first time this season. There were two male common mergansers fishing at the edge of the ice.
– Brianna Rosamilia, Jim Herrington

12/12 – Quassaick Creek, HRM 60: This afternoon, with the air temperature well below freezing; a light covering of snow on the ground; and icicles hanging from the feeder; I was surprised to see a fox sparrow scratching away in the leaves, looking for fallen sunflower seeds. It arrived here about a week ago and was still hanging around.
– John Gebhards

12/12 – Tappan Zee, HRM 27: A snowy owl was spotted perched on an empty gravel barge in the middle of the river, just west of the channel on the north side of the new Tappan Zee Bridge construction site, The work crews were made aware, enjoyed its company, and did not harass the owl.
– Sean Camillieri

yellow_eel_2013_hra eel_2013_hra

12/12 – Norrie Point, HRM 85: The silver eel research being carried out by Sarah Mount and Chris Bowser on the Indian Kill was finished for the season. Operating a fyke net on the tributary throughout the fall, they captured a total of 118 eels. As many as half of the eels were classified, by various maturity indices, as out-migrants leaving the estuary for the sea to spawn. Their life history is so poorly known that any research increases our overall understanding of them.
Silver eels exit inland waterways all along the estuary, as evidenced by the large silver eel that fell on the jogging path at Inwood Park in northern Manhattan, where it was found by Valerie Thomas in mid-November. Looking up, she saw an immature bald eagle twirling overhead, with a meal lost.
– Tom Lake

[“Silver eel” is a colloquial name given to American eels, perhaps 12-20 years old, that have undergone physical changes preparatory to leaving the estuary to spawn. Their eyes become enlarged and they go from the green-and-yellow coloration of their “yellow eel” phase, to dark black dorsally and stark white ventrally. These changes are adaptations to traveling through the deep, dark waters of the North Atlantic to locations and a spawning ritual that are still a mystery. Tom Lake. Top photo of silver eel by Chris Bowser, showing enlarged eye as compared to eye of yellow eel in bottom photo by Steve Stanne.]

WINTER 2013/2014 NATURAL HISTORY PROGRAMS

114th Annual Christmas Bird Count
For details on Hudson Valley Christmas Bird Count locations and dates, visit the New York State Ornithological Association website.

December 21: 10:00 a.m.
Discover Norrie Point: Winter Tree Identification Hike at Norrie Point Environmental Center, Staatsburg [Dutchess County]. Join NYSDEC Naturalist Jim Herrington on a leisurely hike and learn how to identify trees using bark, twigs and buds on this family friendly walk. For information, call 845-889-4745 x109.

36th Annual National Bald Eagle Survey
This survey runs from Wednesday, January 1, until Wednesday, January 15, 2014. Target dates for the Hudson Riverwatershed are January 10-11. The North Atlantic Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be compiling our data. If you would like to contribute your own observations, e-mail Tom Lake for a copy (PDF) of the data collection form.

January 11: 1:00 p.m.
Bald Eagles and Winter Waterfowl with NYSDEC Estuary Naturalist Tom Lake at Norrie Point Environmental Center, Staatsburg [Dutchess County]. Free; family-friendly, all ages. For information: 845-889-4745 x109.

HUDSON RIVER MILES

The Hudson is measured north from Hudson River Mile 0 at the Battery at the southern tip of Manhattan. The George Washington Bridge is at HRM 12, the Tappan Zee 28, Bear Mountain 47, Beacon-Newburgh 62, Mid-Hudson 75, Kingston-Rhinecliff 95, Rip Van Winkle 114, and the Federal Dam at Troy, the head of tidewater, at 153. The tidal section of the Hudson constitutes a bit less than half the total distance – 315 miles – from Lake Tear of the Clouds to the Battery. Entries from points east and west in the watershed reference the corresponding river mile on the mainstem.

TO CONTRIBUTE YOUR OBSERVATIONS OR TO SUBSCRIBE

December 5 – 12, 2013
Compiled by Tom Lake, Hudson River Estuary Program Naturalist

OVERVIEW

At this time of year, bird observations dominate the Almanac. Well-insulated and active, they stand out at backyard feeders and in the larger landscape. Among bird observations this week, the snowy owl irruption into the Northeast was again the major focus. In addition to those reported from the Hudson’s watershed, many reports were coming from peripheral areas such as Long Island and northern New Jersey.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK

12/5 – Stanfordville, HRM 84: I had a female Oregon junco under my feeder today. Last year she (or another one) stayed the entire “junco season!” There was also one reported this week in Ulster County.
– Debi Kral

[The Oregon junco is a regional variety of our common “snowbird” – the dark-eyed junco. There were severalOregon juncos at feeders in Dutchess County during the 1960s, some staying two to three months. The Oregon variety is more of a western bird, but where the two overlap, they successfully inter-breed. This makes a good argument that they are one species, but the taxonomy of the dark-eyed junco (Junco hyemalis) is not without its debates. Barbara Butler. Top: photo of Oregon junco subspecies of dark-eyed junco by Debra Kral; bottom: photo of typical eastern dark-eyed junco, formerly called slate-colored junco, by Jake Dingel/Pennsylvania Game Commission.]

NATURAL HISTORY NOTES

12/5 – Poughquag, Town of Beekman, HRM 71: An interesting goose has come in with a flock of Canada geese for the last two days. Is it a snow goose “blue morph,” or a white- fronted goose, or ???
– Doreen O’Connor

[Accompanying photos stirred up a prolonged debate among several Waterman Bird Club members as to the identity of the mystery goose. Among the candidates that were eventually discounted were barnacle goose, white-fronted goose, and graylag goose. Its orange legs eliminated some possibilities. Eventually a gaggle of experts decided on a hybrid. Even then, was it a Canada cross with a snow goose, or any of the above? Our final and tenuous conclusion was a hybrid Canada/white-fronted goose. Tom Lake.]

12/6 – Town of Wappinger, HRM 67: I watched three black vultures as they rested on a light pole in a parking lot. This was my third sighting of black vultures in the past two weeks.
– Donna Lenhart

12/6 – Ulster County, HRM 78: I counted four short-eared owls in late afternoon at the Shawangunk Grasslands. It was a life bird for me and truly a thrill.
– Martin Carney

[Keeping a “life list” is a popular activity among naturalists, and adding newly-seen species to it is rewarding. Typically these lists are compilations of related species, like postcards from one’s travel through life. Some people keep bird lists; for others it’s fish, flowers, insects, mushrooms, or fungi. Anyone can keep a list of almost anything that ultimately gives them a context and appreciation for the natural world. Tom Lake]

12/6 – Beacon, HRM 61: It was the bottom of the flood tide and the river was just beginning to creep back up on the sand. The beach and the bay were empty but that changed rather abruptly when a large flock of Canada geese (at least 75 birds) did a pirouette overhead and then set down not far offshore. As if they were flying in tandem, a flock of mallards (at least 35 birds) followed them down and landed on their periphery. We had our duck and goose calls with us and were happy to hear the Canadas and mallards occasionally answer us back.
In the sand we found a single shell, a single valve of a bivalve. After some consultation with Dave Strayer, a senior scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, we concluded that it was an invasive species, the Asian clam (Corbicula fluminea). Asian clams were introduced into the United States in 1938. Just a single valve, half of a bivalve, was adequate evidence of its living presence in this reach of the river.
– Tom Lake, T.R. Jackson

[This string of logic from a single valve that provided evidence of a living presence, i.e., one clam requires more clams, reminded me of the meager evidence for the first corn or maize cultivation in the Hudson Valley. Until recently, it was thought to have occurred around AD 1,000. That date was derived from radiocarbon dating of a single charred kernel of corn found by archaeologists near the Roeliff-Jansen’s Kill in Columbia County (HRM 111). And in that instance, one kernel meant one ear; one ear meant one plant; and it followed that more than one plant was required for cross pollination; therefore it was being cultivated. Tom Lake.] [We see the Asian clam everywhere we sample in the Hudson from South Troy to the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge, so far in small numbers. However, it seems to be spreading rapidly. Dave Strayer, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies.]

12/7 – Greene County, HRM 113: We saw a huge white owl on top of Hunter Mountain this morning. I thought it was a gull at first because of its white and gray coloring. However, the flattened face was a dead give-away for an owl, likely a snowy owl. It was airborne as we came into the clearing from the Becker Hollow Trail.
– Eric Scata, Dawn Scata

12/7 – Millbrook, HRM 82: This afternoon I happened to see – very high overhead – a migrant adult golden eagle.
– John Askildsen

12/8 – Newcomb, HRM 302: A large flock of goldfinches, easily more than 130 birds, has been at the feeder the past few weeks. They empty the sunflower feeder about every other day. Other folks feeding the birds in the area are also reporting very large flocks of goldfinches. My past records indicate that they usually stick around for a few weeks in early winter and then go elsewhere, but they seem to be staying longer this year. I’ll have to increase the birdseed expenditure if they decide to stay. Other birds at the feeder include black-capped chickadees, dark-eyed juncos, red-breasted nuthatches, and both downy and hairy woodpeckers. The Hudson River was still mostly open water, with ice in the back bay and a few brave souls ice fishing there.
– Charlotte Demers

12/8 – Dutchess County: Snowy owls have been reported at no fewer than three different locations so far in Dutchess County. One was seen flying towards Bannerman’s Island, another was seen in the Bangall-Amenia area, and one at the Dutchess County Airport. Please remember that even when snowy owls are not on private property, these owls should not be closely approached because many are already very stressed and several have died of starvation.
– Debi Kral

12/9 – Essex County: A snowy owl was struck by a car in the Adirondacks at Keene Valley. When recovered it was found to be emaciated and starving.
– Charlotte Demers

[This location along the Ausable is arguably out of the Hudson River watershed (Lake Champlain watershed) but is used here as another example of the extraordinary snowy owl irruption that has marked this autumn. Tom Lake.]

12/9 – Chelsea, HRM 65.2: It was the morning after an ice storm and rime ice was on the trees, bushes, and shrubs. We walked along the river and as we brushed up against a branch, it sounded like breaking glass. A large flock of common mergansers, almost all drakes, was holding its own not far offshore, playing the wind against the current to stay together.
– Tom Lake, T.R. Jackson

12/9 – Monroe, Orange County, HRM 46: I woke up this morning to black ice on the driveway and a flock of snow geese on Round Lake, just floating quietly together. There were at least 60, with a light gray one in their midst (immature?). I missed their departure; that left just six ruddy ducks that have been here since September.
– Lyn Nelson

12/10 – Ulster County, HRM 78: I arrived at the Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge in mid-afternoon and immediately had a short-eared owl in flight in good light. Over the next two hours I found eight short-ears, four northern harriers, and two red-tailed hawks.
– Ken McDermott

12/10 – Furnace Woods, HRM 38.5: While hauling stove wood to the house on this blowy, cold day, I paused several times to enjoy the ethereal calls of the high flying geese, specks in the blue wintery sky. They had taken note of the forecast: next stop, Delaware Bay.
– Christopher Letts

12/11 – Fishkill, HRM 62: A cold northwest breeze had the wind-chill in single digits in mid-morning, but for these birds it was time to rise. I watched as thirteen black vultures struggled to gain lift from their night roost, executing broad circles barely over tree-top level for several minutes before finally clearing the canopy and drifting south.
– Tom Lake

[Having counted thirteen black vultures, I thought of the folklore and mythology associated with black birds; vultures; and the number 13 (triskaidekaphobia). If I were looking for ominous omens, these would have been adequate. Tom Lake.]

12/11 – Piermont Point. HRM 25: It was real nice to see rafts of black ducks and ruddy ducks in the lee of the point. Red-winged blackbirds were taking advantage of the protected marsh while in close proximity to the bird feeders in town.
– Christopher Letts

12/12 – Norrie Point, HRM 85: The cove outside of the Norrie Point Environmental Education Center was covered in a thin layer of ice for the first time this season. There were two male common mergansers fishing at the edge of the ice.
– Brianna Rosamilia, Jim Herrington

12/12 – Quassaick Creek, HRM 60: This afternoon, with the air temperature well below freezing; a light covering of snow on the ground; and icicles hanging from the feeder; I was surprised to see a fox sparrow scratching away in the leaves, looking for fallen sunflower seeds. It arrived here about a week ago and was still hanging around.
– John Gebhards

12/12 – Tappan Zee, HRM 27: A snowy owl was spotted perched on an empty gravel barge in the middle of the river, just west of the channel on the north side of the new Tappan Zee Bridge construction site, The work crews were made aware, enjoyed its company, and did not harass the owl.
– Sean Camillieri

12/12 – Norrie Point, HRM 85: The silver eel research being carried out by Sarah Mount and Chris Bowser on the Indian Kill was finished for the season. Operating a fyke net on the tributary throughout the fall, they captured a total of 118 eels. As many as half of the eels were classified, by various maturity indices, as out-migrants leaving the estuary for the sea to spawn. Their life history is so poorly known that any research increases our overall understanding of them.
Silver eels exit inland waterways all along the estuary, as evidenced by the large silver eel that fell on the jogging path at Inwood Park in northern Manhattan, where it was found by Valerie Thomas in mid-November. Looking up, she saw an immature bald eagle twirling overhead, with a meal lost.
– Tom Lake

[“Silver eel” is a colloquial name given to American eels, perhaps 12-20 years old, that have undergone physical changes preparatory to leaving the estuary to spawn. Their eyes become enlarged and they go from the green-and-yellow coloration of their “yellow eel” phase, to dark black dorsally and stark white ventrally. These changes are adaptations to traveling through the deep, dark waters of the North Atlantic to locations and a spawning ritual that are still a mystery. Tom Lake. Top photo of silver eel by Chris Bowser, showing enlarged eye as compared to eye of yellow eel in bottom photo by Steve Stanne.]

WINTER 2013/2014 NATURAL HISTORY PROGRAMS

114th Annual Christmas Bird Count
For details on Hudson Valley Christmas Bird Count locations and dates, visit the New York State Ornithological Association website.

December 21: 10:00 a.m.
Discover Norrie Point: Winter Tree Identification Hike at Norrie Point Environmental Center, Staatsburg [Dutchess County]. Join NYSDEC Naturalist Jim Herrington on a leisurely hike and learn how to identify trees using bark, twigs and buds on this family friendly walk. For information, call 845-889-4745 x109.

36th Annual National Bald Eagle Survey
This survey runs from Wednesday, January 1, until Wednesday, January 15, 2014. Target dates for the Hudson Riverwatershed are January 10-11. The North Atlantic Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be compiling our data. If you would like to contribute your own observations, e-mail Tom Lake for a copy (PDF) of the data collection form.

January 11: 1:00 p.m.
Bald Eagles and Winter Waterfowl with NYSDEC Estuary Naturalist Tom Lake at Norrie Point Environmental Center, Staatsburg [Dutchess County]. Free; family-friendly, all ages. For information: 845-889-4745 x109.

HUDSON RIVER MILES

The Hudson is measured north from Hudson River Mile 0 at the Battery at the southern tip of Manhattan. The George Washington Bridge is at HRM 12, the Tappan Zee 28, Bear Mountain 47, Beacon-Newburgh 62, Mid-Hudson 75, Kingston-Rhinecliff 95, Rip Van Winkle 114, and the Federal Dam at Troy, the head of tidewater, at 153. The tidal section of the Hudson constitutes a bit less than half the total distance – 315 miles – from Lake Tear of the Clouds to the Battery. Entries from points east and west in the watershed reference the corresponding river mile on the mainstem.

TO CONTRIBUTE YOUR OBSERVATIONS OR TO SUBSCRIBE

 

The Hudson River Almanac is compiled and edited by Tom Lake and emailed weekly by  Steve Stanne, education coordinator at DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program. Share your observations by e-mailing them to   [email protected].

To subscribe to the Almanac (or to unsubscribe), go to DEC’s Email Lists page, enter your email address, and click on “Submit.” A page listing available subscription topics will appear. Scroll down; under the heading “Natural Areas and Wildlife” is the section “Lakes and Rivers” with a listing for the Hudson River Almanac. Click on the check box to subscribe. While there, you may wish to subscribe to RiverNet, which covers projects, events and actions related to the Hudson and its watershed, or to other DEC newsletters and information feeds.

The Hudson River Almanac archive allows one to use the DEC website’s search engine to find species, locations, and other data in weekly issues dating back to October 2003.

Discover New York State Conservationist – the award-winning, advertisement-free magazine focusing on New York State’s great outdoors and natural resources. Conservationist features stunning photography, informative articles and around-the-state coverage.

USEFUL LINKS

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s high and low tide and tidal current predictions are invaluable for planning boating, fishing, and other excursions on and along the estuary.

The Hudson River Environmental Conditions Observing System [HRECOS] provides near real-time information on water and weather conditions at monitoring stations from Manhattan to the Mohawk River.

Historical information on the movements of the salt front is available on the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hudson River Salt Front website.

Copies of past issues of the Hudson River Almanac, Volumes II-VIII, are available for purchase from the publisher, Purple Mountain Press, (800) 325-2665.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DEC Serious About Stripers: Over $600 Worth in Fish Found in Restaurant

Monday, 04 November 2013 20:57  Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail    Submit DEC Serious About Stripers: Over $600 Worth in Fish Found in Restaurant in Delicious Submit DEC Serious About Stripers: Over $600 Worth in Fish Found in Restaurant in Digg Submit DEC Serious About Stripers: Over $600 Worth in Fish Found in Restaurant in FaceBook Submit DEC Serious About Stripers: Over $600 Worth in Fish Found in Restaurant in Google Bookmarks Submit DEC Serious About Stripers: Over $600 Worth in Fish Found in Restaurant in Stumbleupon Submit DEC Serious About Stripers: Over $600 Worth in Fish Found in Restaurant in Technorati Submit DEC Serious About Stripers: Over $600 Worth in Fish Found in Restaurant in Twitter

NYSDEC logo

Fisherman Faces Misdemeanor for Having Illegal Striped Bass

Over $600 Worth in Fish Found in Restaurant

A Babylon pizzeria owner was served misdemeanor charges Sunday after being caught by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) with 60 pounds of striped bass that he was alegedly illegally selling through his restaurant.

Captain Timothy Huss says that on October 16, State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) ECOs followed up on an anonymous tip about a village of Babylon pizzeria owner illegally selling striped bass. ECOs began surveillance at the business of Mr. Frank Genovas to determine whether the tip had any validity. That evening, ECOs observed an employee of Franchesco’s Pizzeria in Babylon, bringing a large striped bass into the restaurant through the back lot. ECOs inspected the restaurant and found three untagged striped bass in a cooler and 23 pounds of fillets in portion sizes located in a separate cooler. ECOs interviewed Mr. Genovas and employees regarding the origins of the fish and also noted the night’s special entrée was locally caught bass.

A total of 60 pounds of untagged striped bass worth more than $600 were seized by the ECOs and donated to Long Island Cares Charity.

“DEC establishes fishing limits and fish food laws to protect fish populations and ensure the food people are consuming is safe and sustainable,” said DEC Region 1 Regional Director Peter A. Scully. “When individuals overfish their recreational limit, they not only deplete the fishing stock, but take advantage of those commercial fishermen who play by the rules.”

Mr. Frank Genovas was cited for four misdemeanor level commercialization charges including:

Possessing untagged striped bass;
Taking striped bass without a commercial striped bass permit;
Failing to have a food fish license; and
Possessing striped bass fillets in a retail establishment without maintaining the associated fish carcass.

Each charge carries a penalty of up to $5,000 and/or up to one year in jail.

Mr. Genovas is scheduled to appear at the 1st District Court in Islip on Dec. 11, 2013.

All persons taking striped bass commercially are required to possess a commercial fishing license. Licensees are issued a limited number of tags and are required to file harvest reports for each fishing trip. This system allows DEC to account for the number of fish taken commercially and properly manage the species which has been threatened by low population numbers in the past.

Individuals spotting illegal activities are encouraged to call DEC’s Environmental Conservation Police at (631) 444-0250 during business hours, and 1-877-457-5680 or 1-800-TIPP-DEC at all other times to report suspected illegal activities.

 

 

 

Hudson River Almanac October 8 – 14, 2013

Saturday, 26 October 2013 10:28 Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail   Submit Hudson River Almanac October 8 - 14, 2013 in Delicious Submit Hudson River Almanac October 8 - 14, 2013 in Digg Submit Hudson River Almanac October 8 - 14, 2013 in FaceBook Submit Hudson River Almanac October 8 - 14, 2013 in Google Bookmarks Submit Hudson River Almanac October 8 - 14, 2013 in Stumbleupon Submit Hudson River Almanac October 8 - 14, 2013 in Technorati Submit Hudson River Almanac October 8 - 14, 2013 in Twitter

Compiled by Tom Lake, Hudson River Estuary Program Naturalist

OVERVIEW

Our eleventh annual “Day in the Life of the Hudson River,” spanning the watershed, brought thousands of eager students to the estuary.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK

10/11 – Crugers, HRM 39: A beautiful gray fox ran across the road today. At first I thought it was a red fox – the animal did have quite a bit of rusty color – but the black-tipped tail gave it away as the fox sprinted off into a neighbor’s yard.
– Dianne Picciano

NATURAL HISTORY NOTES

10/8 – Newcomb, HRM 302: A few days ago, a lovely stretch of fall weather ended with rain (0.6″). Previously we had eleven days without precipitation, and daytime temperatures in the high 60s and overnight temperatures dipping into the 30s. That made for a perfect autumn season. The foliage was a bit past peak but there was still some lovely color with about half of the canopy still having foliage. A few apple trees were still hanging onto some fruit but most were done. The mountain ash berries have been worked over well by the cedar waxwings. Crab apples and choke cherry are still on the stem but likely won’t last long after a few good frosts when the birds find them more palatable.
– Charlotte Demers

10/8 – Greene County, HRM 116: I came upon an unusual bivalve (clam) in the river at the Cohotate Field Station so I sent it to Dave Strayer at the Cary Institute of Ecosystems Studies.
– Jon Powell

[The species is the Asian clam (Corbicula fluminea), an invasive species native to Asia. A few empty shells collected at Kingston on June 27, 2008, constitute the first record of this species from the Hudson River. It is now widespread (but not very common) throughout the freshwater tidal Hudson, and is very common in at least a couple of the upland rivers(Wallkill, Ramapo). Dave Strayer.]

duck hra october 2013

 

 

10/8 – Monroe, HRM 46: Yesterday we spotted some waterfowl cavorting near mallards on Round Lake. They were not diving but dabbling. Our binoculars could not get close enough for a better look. Today there was a pair of beautiful birds hunkered down on a small Round Pond beach, the same birds we had seen – American wigeon. [Photo of drake American wigeon by Donna Dewhurst, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.] – Lyn Nelson, Debbie Korwan

10/8 – Bedford, HRM 35: There was an unexpectedly slow movement at the Chestnut Ridge hawkwatch today in the wake of this weekend’s passing front. By mid-afternoon only nineteen raptors had been recorded. A short while later an impressive flight began; we had more than 140 birds, mostly sharp-shinned with a minor push of kestrels. Also counted were five common ravens, a Swainson’s thrush, 129 American robins, 70 blue jays, and 164 Canada geese. Current selected season totals are 12,233 broad-winged hawks and 1,277 sharp-shinned hawks.
– Arthur W. Green, Gaelyn Ong

10/9 – Newcomb, HRM 302: A cold front that moved through the northeast put an end to most of the upper canopy foliage. Almost an inch of rain fell during an hour’s time accompanied by very strong winds. I would estimate that 80%-100% of the dominant trees are now leafless – the exception, as always, being American beech. It is still lovely in the woods with the bright greens and yellows of the understory beech combining with the sugar-plum purple of the witchobble (Viburnum lantanoides). The sunlight penetrating into the understory makes these leaves glow with a radiance that I only see this time of year.
– Charlotte Demers

10/9 – Kowawese, HRM 59: We were here to get a feel for the conditions we’ll face tomorrow for our “Day in the Life” programs. The preview was not auspicious: We seined three times with our 50-foot seine. Each haul caught no more than three fish, but did catch 5-6 rocks the size of cantaloupes (or cannonballs). The only fish we caught were tessellated darters and spottail shiners. With little recent rain, the salinity was 2.25 parts per thousand [ppt], and the water was still warm at 66 degrees Fahrenheit.
– Tom Lake. A. Danforth

10/9 – Bedford, HRM 35: This was a day at the Chestnut Ridge hawkwatch that was much slower than the count totals might suggest. Nearly all migrants were spotted flying at rather casual height above the tree canopy. American kestrel migration seemed to be finally winding down. We are still struck by the paucity of northern harriers so far. Also counted were three common ravens, 108 blue jays, 33 cedar waxwings, and three monarchs. Current selected season totals are 12,233 broad-winged hawks and 1,313 sharp-shinned hawks.
– Arthur W. Green, Gaelyn Ong, Jim Jones

10/10 – Hudson River Watershed: Today was our eleventh “Day in the Life of the Hudson River.” This annual event affords us the opportunity to engage students in sampling the watershed from many locations across a 200 mile-long reach of the river. We collect water quality and wildlife data as a one-day “snapshot” of the river ecosystem. This year we had groups at 63 sites (including two in the Mohawk River basin) involving some 3,000 students.
– Steve Stanne

10/10 – Green Island, HRM 153: High tide seemed to keep a lot of wildlife at bay. Students from the Robert C. Parker School (second, third, sixth, and seventh grades) were thrilled by the changes in the water level as the tide went out during our “Day in the Life” program. The uncovering of the shoreline brought shells, rocks, and formations to light. The New York State Museum assisted the fishing with an electro-shocking backpack that added excitement. The American eels and bluegills we collected stimulated questions and curiosity.
– Kate Perry

10/10 – Kingston, HRM 92: In mid-morning of our “Day in the Life” program at Kingston Point Park, we spotted an adult and an immature bald eagle flying north along Kingston’s previously industrial waterfront. With much water chestnut at low tide, we had to go quite far out to seine. Just after lunch, our Bailey Middle School eighth graders caught fourteen fish in five hauls, including spottail shiners, golden shiners striped bass, and white perch.
– Julie Noble, Steve Noble

10/10 – Esopus Meadows, HRM 87: Fifty-six Robert Graves fourth grade students took part in our “Day in the Life” program. Over eight seine hauls we caught 28 fish, most notably an Oriental weatherfish and a northern pipefish. The water temp was 61 degrees F. Lunch was accompanied by music and a bald eagle resting on a bare branch in perfect sight of our spotting scope.
– Eli Schloss, Donna Nageli, Eric Nageli

eels october 2013 hra

 

[The pipefish is a close relative to the seahorse and favors vegetated areas in the estuary such as beds of wild celery, water milfoil, and pondweed. If this species were new to the watershed, without a photo or a specimen, today’s record would be questionable given that it was from fresh water far upriver. Northern pipefish are common in the lower estuary; they are most comfortable in salty to brackish water. J.D. Hardy Jr. (1978) documented northern pipefish in salinity ranging from freshwater to full seawater, but much preferring 13.0-20.0 ppt. The previous, and tenuous, upriver record – also lacking a photo or specimen – was taken at Kowawese (HRM 59) for the 2007 Day in the Life. The salinity that day was 4.2 ppt and the river temperature was 73 degrees F. Tom Lake. Photo of two northern pipefish by Margie Turrin.]

10/10 – Town of Wappinger, HRM 67: I glanced out the window this morning and saw perched on the railing right between our bird feeders an immature Cooper’s hawk, looking me in the eye.
– Phyllis Lake

10/10 – Kowawese, HRM 59: Students from Vails Gate Elementary and Bishop Dunn Memorial helped us sample the riverfor our “Day in the Life” program. In an elegant backdrop, for the second day in a row, a kettle of turkey vultures spiraled up out of the forest from their night roost. With the sandy shallows lacking vegetation we had to seine hard to find fish. Our catch was modest with a few highlights including a smallmouth bass 200 millimeters [mm] long, yearling alewives (110-113 mm), young-of-the-year [YOY] striped bass (63 mm), and penny-sized blue crabs. The salinity rose as the tide fell, from 2.25 to 2.50 ppt. Water temperature was 65 degrees F.
– Mary-Lynne Malone, Joe DeStefano, Jack Caldwell, Bernadette Kleister, Pam Golben, Tom Lake

[Yearling alewives (river herring) may have always been in the estuary but we have begun to take notice of them in the last decade. Traditionally, alewives have been seen as either spawning adults or young-of-the-year. Professor Karin Limburg of SUNY’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry has analyzed these alewives looking for a “saltwater signature” in an effort to determine if they are precocious YOY fish, “holdovers,” or wayward yearlings in from the sea. Tom Lake.]

10/10 – Cornwall, HRM 57: Seventy-five students from Willow Avenue School in Cornwall lined the beach in eager anticipation as we seined a quiet bay in the dropping tide for our “Day in the Life program.” As we began, an immature bald eagle made a brief appearance overhead before moving away. As at Kowawese, two miles upriver, we caught yearling alewives (110-111 mm), broadening the occurrence of that poorly-understood phenomenon. The visual highlight was a gorgeous redbreast sunfish – no tropical fish ever looked prettier. Salinity was 2.5 ppt and the river was 66 degree F. As our program neared lunchtime, a long skein of brant (35-40 birds) passed low overhead, made the turn at the base of Storm King Mountain, and then flew straight down the river.
– Chris O’Sullivan, Tom Lake

[Legendary ecologist Dery Bennett used to mark the seasons by noting how brant, a small species of goose, would return to Sandy Hook (NJ) at the mouth of the estuary each autumn around Columbus Day to spend the winter. They would then leave Sandy Hook the following Memorial Day, shoving off for the Canadian Arctic where they breed and fledge young. Tom Lake.]

10/10 – Bedford, HRM 35: Flight-lines from the Chestnut Ridge hawkwatch beyond the near northeast ridge seemed to run completely dry today, with nearly all migrants sourcing directly out of our east or far southeast of the watch platform. Also counted were three common ravens, 69 blue jays, 116 American robins, and one monarch. Current selected season totals are 12,233 broad-winged hawks and 1,330 sharp-shinned hawks.
– Arthur W. Green

10/10 – Piermont Pier, HRM 25: Eighty students from Pearl River, Clarkstown South, and Tappan Zee High Schools – and their teachers – ignored the cold and drizzle to become engrossed in studying the river as part of our “Day in the Life” program. Like doctors with a patient, they checked its temperature; respiration; chemistry; and nutrients. The river looked pretty healthy with salinity around 9.0 ppt, temperature 18 degrees C [65 F], and oxygen levels rising to 7.5 parts-per-million during our visit. While the group was disappointed in the low number of fish in our net, there was excitement over some of the catch: a mummichog (100 mm); several nickel-sized blue crabs; five small naked gobies; a few bay anchovies; striped bass; and a couple of white perch. We noted just a handful of Atlantic silversides where normally we net dozens or more. More excitement came from the hundreds of comb jellies (ctenophores) that were either scooped into the seine or lined the bottom of our traps.
– Margie Turrin, the Lamont-Doherty Team

10/10 – Manhattan, HRM 5: Speyer Legacy School students thought the tossing of an orange from the 69th Street Pier to measure currents was a great example of a discrepant event [a different way from the usual]. The wind was blowing strongly and its effect was very evident on the surface of the water. The students predicted that the orange would be pushed swiftly along by the wind, and they were amazed when the orange, at slack tide, simply sat in place. In that moment they saw the complexity of the water column and understood that wave direction and current direction were two very different things. We caught a fish that the students proudly and accurately identified (all by themselves, using the Clearwater dichotomous fish key) as a three-inch-long cunner. These students never had this type of experience and were overwhelmed by hauling up such beautiful fish and crabs. Large numbers of comb jellies ended up in the minnow traps as well. While the students were fascinated with the animals, the blue crabs stole the show!
– Kimberly Schwab

[Cunners (Tautogolabrus adspersus) are a member of the wrasse family, Labridae, closely related to the tautog or blackfish. They are commonly found in the lower estuary in many habitats but prefer rocky areas where they feed on small shellfish and mollusks. Anglers know them colloquially as “bergalls,” and in New England they are called “chogies.” Tom Lake.]

10/11 – Pleasant Valley, HRM 76: I keep hearing a song sparrow singing in the fields in the early morning. It seems unusual to be hearing them this late in the season. Perhaps it is because the weather has been so mild in the past few weeks. I wonder if he will be staying all winter?
– Kathy Kraft

10/11 – Bedford, HRM 35: It was a bit of a surprise today at the Chestnut Ridge hawkwatch to see an initial mid-morning rush of birds passing fairly close to the watch platform. Despite lackluster thermals and heavy cloud cover, some migrants – sharp-shinned hawks in particular – were flying high enough to utterly vanish in low-hanging shreds of stratus clouds. Also counted were 56 blue jays and 83 American robins. Current selected season totals are 12,233 broad-winged hawks and 1,351 sharp-shinned hawks.
– Arthur W. Green

10/11 – Manhattan, HRM 3.5: I walk through Bryant Park daily and while I frequently see pigeons and house sparrows, yesterday I noticed something different. It turned out to be a male common yellowthroat hopping among the flowering begonias, eating insects. Today I went back and saw a small flock of them, two males and four to six females. I also saw several dark-eyed juncos, four white-throated sparrows and a house wren, all in one small corner of the park.
– Caroline McDonald

10/12 – Cohoes, HRM 157: There was a low flow over the falls reflecting the recent lack of precipitation in the watershed. Great blue herons and cormorants were taking advantage of the shallow pools under the falls and downstream to fish. Hundreds of gulls, almost all ring-billed, lined the exposed rocky bottom.
– Tom Lake

[The Cohoes Falls on the Mohawk River flow over graywacke (a hard sandstone) and shale, and range from 75-90 feet high. At a time in the past, these falls formed the boundary line between Mohawk territory to the west and Mohican Indian territory to the east. Tom Lake.]

10/12 – Green Island, HRM 153: The sumac reds, cottonwood golds, and bright sunshine made this an idyllic autumn day. At the head of tidewater the river was up and clear enough to spot a smallmouth bass prowling the shallows. A small squadron of dark dragonflies moved past; one broke off and ran a sortie around my head for no apparent reason before rejoining the flight.
– Tom Lake

10/12 – Ravena, HRM 124: Watching the leaves turn color as the days get shorter and the nights get colder is one of the perks of autumn. For a brief time the landscape looks like it’s wearing a rainbow. But while the deciduous trees are getting ready for the winter, the conifers are making their own preparations. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve watched the pine trees around my house become loaded with yellowing needles among the green of this year’s growth. This week it happened, as though they’d all gotten a signal, and they dropped them in one night. Underneath all the pines was a new thick carpet of shed needles.
– Larry Roth

10/12 – Bedford, HRM 35: Turkey vultures took center stage at the Chestnut Ridge hawkwatch, accounting for two-thirds of the day’s migrant count. Frequently a group of birds would appear over the near northeast ridge and then sneak away without much fanfare. Apart from a few stopover red-shouldered hawks and migrant sharp-shinned hawks, it was a very sparse showing. Also counted were 18 common ravens, 62 blue jays, and one monarch. Current selected season totals are 12,233 broad-winged hawks and 1,369 sharp-shinned hawks.
– Arthur W. Green, Gaelyn Ong

10/12 – Croton Point, HRM 34.5: The landfill was very active with sparrows – literally dozens of savannah and song sparrows. I had great looks at a vesper sparrow and eight to ten swamp sparrows. On a field off the landfill I found many chipping sparrows, a Lincoln’s sparrow, at least six juncos, and two blue-headed vireos. Warblers were limited to large numbers of yellow-rumped, several palm warblers, and a few common yellowthroats. The highlight was at least 30 water pipits. There was also a huge blue jay movement of more than one hundred birds.
– Larry Trachtenberg

10/13 – Milan HRM 90: I collected a bucket of acorns to keep as winter treats for the squirrels. I put them in a large flower pot so that the drainage holes would allow for air circulation and brought them in the house. I soon noticed small cream-colored “grubs” on the hearth. After some investigation I identified them as black oak acorn weevil larvae (Curculio rectus). Looking at the acorns themselves you could plainly see the escape holes the larvae made to get out of their nursery.
– Marty Otter

10/13 – Bedford, HRM 35: Our first hour of the count at the Chestnut Ridge hawkwatch began with exceptionally good views of a sub-adult golden eagle that was flying only a stone’s throw from the platform. It continued to fly in the area for another ten minutes before departing southeast. Current selected season totals are 12,233 broad-winged hawks and 1,376 sharp-shinned hawks.
– Arthur W. Green, Gaelyn Ong

10/14 – Blooming Grove, HRM 55: We had a hooded warbler under the bird feeder today. The male is easy to spot with such a distinctive head, the black hood and bib, plus a very prominent black eye. It was very exciting to watch it stay close to the ground looking for bugs darting in and out of the shrubs. I found a few caterpillars, woolly bear, giant leopard moth, and a Virginia tiger moth (also called woolly bears) while cleaning up in the gardens.
– Carol Coddington

10/14 – Cold Spring to Bear Mountain, HRM 54-46: More than a hundred of us were on board the River Rose for an anniversary cruise for both Bedford and Saw Mill River Audubon. The day was perfect, with calm winds, bright sun, and a smooth tide. As would be expected we saw very little bird life (a river in “stress” seems to bring out the wildlife). Under the Bear Mountain Bridge we saw one of the resident peregrine falcons; passing West Point, Larry Trachtenberg spotted a red-shouldered hawk; and we all had good views of the white-wash below the raven and peregrine falcon eyries on both Storm King Mountain and Breakneck Ridge.
– Tom Lake

10/14 – Bedford, HRM 35: Indecisive winds often make for slow flights, and today was no exception at the Chestnut Ridge hawkwatch. Migrants were taking only to casual heights above the tree canopy. It was a sparse showing all around, although the osprey count is better than it had been. Also counted were three common ravens and 22 blue jays. Current selected season totals are 12,233 broad-winged hawks and 1,378 sharp-shinned hawks.
– Arthur W. Green, Gaelyn Ong

FALL 2013 NATURAL HISTORY PROGRAMS

November 20: 2:30 p.m.
Lives and Legends of Hudson River Fishes, presented by Tom Lake, NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program naturalist, at Crandall Library, Glens Falls [Warren County]. For information, email [email protected] or visit theSouthern Adirondack Audubon Society’s website.

November 20: 7:00 p.m.
Hudson Valley Bald Eagles: Our Greatest Ecological Recovery, presented by Tom Lake, NYSDEC Hudson RiverEstuary Program naturalist, at Crandall Library, Glens Falls [Warren County]. For information, [email protected] or visit the Southern Adirondack Audubon Society’s website.

 

 

 

 

 

Hudson River Almanac October 1 – 7, 2013

Tuesday, 22 October 2013 10:31  Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail     Submit Hudson River Almanac October 1 - 7, 2013 in Delicious Submit Hudson River Almanac October 1 - 7, 2013 in Digg Submit Hudson River Almanac October 1 - 7, 2013 in FaceBook Submit Hudson River Almanac October 1 - 7, 2013 in Google Bookmarks Submit Hudson River Almanac October 1 - 7, 2013 in Stumbleupon Submit Hudson River Almanac October 1 - 7, 2013 in Technorati Submit Hudson River Almanac October 1 - 7, 2013 in Twitter

Compiled by Tom Lake, Hudson River Estuary Program Naturalist

OVERVIEW

After more than a week with no measurable precipitation, brackish water (about 10% sea water) began to creep above the Hudson Highlands. Would it bring brackish water animals with it? The first of our winter feeder birds made a showing this week as well.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK

10/2 – Rhinebeck, HRM 90: I was awakened last night by continuous screeching from a tree outside my window. The racket went on for quite a while. As a birder, I knew it had to be a nocturnal predatory bird but had never heard one that sounded both so distressed and persistent. The gentlest comparison was of a large rusty gate careening on an eerily windless night. Today I did an online search of owl calls and the one I heard matched that of the barn owl. I regret missing this visual treat – it moved away next night. This is the classic owl middle-of the-night mythological “harbinger of death.” One can understand belief in ghostly apparitions by the haunting facial disc and white feathers of this bird with its tormented call.
– Pat Joel

NATURAL HISTORY NOTES

10/1- Hudson, HRM 118: One of the staff at the Questar III Columbia-Greene Educational Center discovered a praying mantis (that he named “Paula”), at the front entrance of our school early this morning. It was still there when I arrived a while later and it stayed at its post for hours, welcoming students and faculty.
– Lynn Seftner

stink hra 2013 october

10/1 – Rhinebeck, HRM 90: Brown marmorated stink bugs had arrived on the deck, on the outside of screens, and in sunny spots on the siding.
– Phyllis Marsteller

[The brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) has made an impression in many areas of the Mid-Hudson Valley in the last few years, invading homes, businesses, schools, garages, and automobiles often in overwhelming numbers. Also called the shield bug, they are invasive insects native to Asia and introduced in the northeast in the 1990s. They are considered agricultural pests since in large numbers they can suck plant juices and damage crop production. Tom Lake.Photo of borwn marmorated stinkbug by David R. Lance, USDA APHIS PPQ, bugwood.org.]

10/1 – Bedford, HRM 35: This was a rather sparse flight for early October at the Chestnut Ridge hawkwatch. Some birds were sighted flying surprisingly low despite rip-roaring thermals. A pair of bald eagles (an immature and a second-year bird) circling overhead were the raptor highlight of the day. There were no afternoon flights of either dragonflies or falcons. Also counted were five common ravens, 46 blue jays, one ruby-throated hummingbird, and a single monarch. Current selected season totals are 12,232 broad-winged hawks and 974 sharp-shinned hawks.
– Arthur W. Green

[The hawkwatch observation point at Chestnut Ridge is in Westchester County, at an elevation of about 770 feet, with a 180-degree view oriented to the east. Birders have been observing migrating raptors from Chestnut Ridge since at least 1978. Tait Johansson.]

10/1 – Croton Point, HRM 35-34: It was a lovely morning for a walk and I took a long one. The entire Point vibrated with bird life – songbirds were everywhere. For two hours I was rarely out of sight or sound of blue jays and robins. Warblers, catbirds, flycatchers, and red-winged blackbirds were all over the place. However, I saw only one kestrel and a single monarch.
– Christopher Letts

10/2 – Fishkill, HRM 61: Looking up to the bright blue sky on a glorious October day, I noticed a kettle of seven birds circling on the thermals overhead. They were turkey vultures, high aloft, but one was distinctly different, much larger. As it effortlessly turned, its tail and then its head glinted white in the autumn sunlight. Wonderful! An adult bald eagle was riding the thermals with the vultures. My adrenalin rush didn’t reach as high as the eagle, but fairly close, for this was a first bald eagle sighting from my yard, which is several miles distant from the Hudson.
– Ed Spaeth

10/2 – Beacon, HRM 61: Following ten days with no rain, the sea salt finally made it to Long Dock Park for the first time this season. We measured 3.0 parts per thousand [ppt]; seawater at this latitude averages 32-33 ppt. The river was 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
– Tom Lake, T.R. Jackson

10/2 – Bedford, HRM 35: Many of the migrating raptors spotted from the Chestnut Ridge hawkwatch today were clearly struggling against the west winds as they made their way southwest. We counted one monarch today. Current selected season totals are 12,232 broad-winged hawks and 1,039 sharp-shinned hawks.
– Tait Johansson, Jim Jones

10/2 – Croton Point, HRM 35-34: Where there were thousands of passerines yesterday, where I listed three dozen species in two hours, I saw and heard barely a dozen this morning. Gone were yesterday’s legions of migrants. The constant was one kestrel and a solitary monarch.
– Christopher Letts

10/3 – Crugers, HRM 38.5: We had not seen the great blue heron from Ogilvie’s Pond for several days, so this afternoon we went searching, driving across the Oscawana Bridge over Furnace Brook. The tide was low and a tree trunk was exposed on the mud flats. Standing on it, preening its feathers, was our heron. Earlier, we had spotted a monarch butterfly on a butterfly bush, only the third one we’ve seen this year.
– Dorothy Ferguson, Bob Ferguson

10/3 – Furnace Woods, HRM 38: Ah, the leaves come down, they roar down, they thunder down. With barely enough breeze to alter their course of fall, they blanket the mirror surface of Pine Lake. Where I mulched millions two days ago there lies a solid new carpet of maple leaves, hiding the lawn beneath, hardly a speck of green showing through.
– Christopher Letts

10/3 – Bedford, HRM 35: We had excellent sharp-shinned numbers at the Chestnut Ridge hawkwatch despite lackluster conditions which assured that distant birds we’d normally see were lost to the haze. There was not much of a dragonfly push prior to the day’s mid-afternoon American kestrel flight, with only a few green darners observed near the watch platform. Also counted were 196 blue jays (36 small flocks), 32 cedar waxwings (four flocks), and one monarch. Current selected season totals are 12,232 broad-winged hawks and 1,105 sharp-shinned hawks.
– Arthur W. Green, Gaelyn Ong

10/3 – Croton Point, HRM 35-34: Another huge wave of songbirds had arrived and the trees and understory were throbbing with warblers and other small birds. I saw more birds in one scrubby black willow than in yesterday’s hour-long walk.
– Christopher Letts

10/4 – Middle Ground, HRM 119.5: We have been photographing an eagle family since May, three fledglings and the adults. The last day we saw the family together was September 25.
– Michael Kalin, Julie Elson

[Immature bald eagles fledged in the summer tend to become more independent as summer turns to autumn and winter finally arrives. By the time snow and ice become a part of the valley landscape, most immature eagles will have found their peers to hang out with. Tom Lake.]

10/4 – Milan HRM 90: The first black-capped chickadees visited my feeder today. They are friendly little guys.
– Marty Otter

10/4 – Hyde Park, HRM 82: I watched a house wren tear into a meal of stink bug like a grizzly bear enjoying salmon.
– Barbara Wells

10/4 – Town of Wappinger, HRM 67: The hummingbird feeders came down today and the finch feeders went up. Immediately a half-dozen chickadees and a like number of goldfinches mobbed the feeders. One chickadee momentarily landed on my hand as I took too long to fasten the top on a feeder.
– Tom Lake

10/4 – Beacon, HRM 61: After more than a week of air temperatures in the 70s and 80s, no rain, and salinity at 4.0 ppt, we expected to see some brackish water fish in our net. Instead we caught an assemblage of typical freshwater species: smallmouth bass 84-100 millimeters [mm] long, largemouth bass (125-150 mm), banded killifish, tessellated darters, spottail shiners, and small American eels. The only evidence of brackish water were handfuls of comb jellies, looking like little translucent pearls in the seine.
– Tom Lake, Phyllis Lake

[Comb jellies (Ctenophora) are often mistaken for jellyfish but differ in that they have no tentacles and do not sting. Like true jellyfish, comb jellies are translucent, gelatinous, fragile, and essentially planktonic, drifting at the whim of the wind and current. Common in warm, brackish estuarine shallows, they are peanut to walnut-sized and often occur in swarms. For a real treat, gently scoop a few from the net with a wet, cupped hand, place them into a small glass aquarium, and gently rock the water. Their rhythmic, symmetrical, and altogether graceful movements are enchanting, but belie their voracious nature. For example, comb jellies are a major predator of larval shellfish in Long Island estuaries. The common Hudson River species is Leidy’s comb jelly (Mnemiopsis leidyi). Tom Lake.]

perugrine hra 2013 october

 

10/4 – Bedford, HRM 35: Our day at the Chestnut Ridge hawkwatch started and ended with very localized bands of brisk rain that hardly registered on the National Weather Service radar, but we were pretty well soaked! In spite of oppressive haze and some valley fog that pretty much ruled out detection of distant migrants, we did fairly well. It’s not inconceivable that we lost at least as many birds to the haze as we counted. Two of the three peregrine falcons passed close enough to the watch platform to be aged without binoculars. Also counted were 72 blue jays (ten small flocks) and 50 cedar waxwings (five flocks). Current selected season totals are 12,232 broad-winged hawks and 1,133 sharp-shinned hawks. (Photos of first year [left] and adult [right] peregrine falcons by Mike Pogue.)
– Gaelyn Ong, Jim Jones

10/5 – Norrie Point, HRM 85: There were easily a hundred Canada geese and 30 mallards foraging across acres of water chestnut. Each of two dozen deadfalls had a cormorant, many of them striking their “Dracula” pose, drying out (cormorant feathers lack the buoyant oils of waterfowl). We had time to notice these things because our public fishing program was practically non-existent. Across three hours, fifteen anglers landed just one fish, an eight-inch-long bluegill caught by one-year-old Chance Fernald, The tide was high and the river was 67 degrees F.
– Ryan Coulter, Tom Lake

10/5 – Bedford, HRM 35: Two of the four peregrine falcons we had today at the Chestnut Ridge hawkwatch passed close enough to the watch platform to be seen without binoculars. The day ended with a small push of all three species of falcons (peregrine, merlin, and kestrel) as well as sharp-shinned and Cooper’s hawks, and a small kettle of three ospreys. We also had a kettle of black and turkey vultures relatively close to the platform in mid-afternoon. Also counted were two monarchs. Current selected season totals are 12,232 broad-winged hawks and 1,165 sharp-shinned hawks.
– Gaelyn Ong, Arthur W. Green, Charles Bobelis, Chris Franks, Steve Walter

10/6 – New Paltz, HRM 78: We saw something pretty amazing at midday on the Wallkill River: An adult bald eagle swooped down to the water and snatched a fish off the surface. As it flew away the fish squirmed in an odd way and we realized it was an American eel!
– Tom O’Dowd, Anne Eshenroeder

10/6 – Verplanck, HRM 40.5: Hundreds of brant were flying south in large intermittent flocks. As we fed the mallards and a lone Canada goose, two brant came skidding into the flock and then walked onto the beach to pick grit and preen.
– Ed McKay, Hope McKay, Hunter McKay

10/6 – Bedford, HRM 35: With drizzle and fog, we could barely see from the Chestnut Ridge hawkwatch. In midday, by chance, a hunting juvenile Cooper’s hawk was spotted diving into the tree canopy. Current selected season totals are 12,232 broad-winged hawks and 1,165 sharp-shinned hawks (no increase from yesterday; no migrating raptors counted for the day).
– Gaelyn Ong, Arthur W. Green

10/7 – North Germantown, HRM 109: We kept a wary eye on the blackening sky over the Catskills to the west (tornado watch). The wind had picked up and a steady but light shower had begun to soak us. The expected low tide never materialized as a strong south-southeast wind had kept it in. We hauled our 85-foot-long seine across sandy shallows dotted with small clumps of vegetation, and then hastened to land it before the tide caught us or the storm reached us. As with our last visit (see 9/20) our net caught a dozen or more young-of-the-year striped bass (67-74 mm), mixed in with white perch, banded killifish, and small American eels. Within minutes of collecting our gear, the rain began (1.5″) accompanied by strong winds. The water was 67 degrees F.
– Tom Lake, T.R. Jackson

10/7 – Ulster County, HRM 97: With a couple of warmer nights recently, I’d begun to hear katydids again. Some nights just a couple, but others it was an entire chorus. I think this might be the latest I have ever heard them. I came upon a flock of wild turkeys this morning with two mature toms all fanned out like they were going to go at it. There were five or six hens around them.
– Scott Davis

10/7 – Bedford, HRM 35: Despite strong winds and impending storms, there was more activity than one might expect at the Chestnut Ridge hawkwatch. A lone, straggling adult broad-winged hawk was spotted before we were shut out by the first round of rain at midday. Our attempt to finish up the day was met almost immediately by another bout of hard rain, although it was nice to see resident turkey vultures and red-tailed hawks still making their rounds right up until visibility closed off completely. Also counted were 40 European starlings (one flock), 22 blue jays (seven small flocks), 30 Canada geese, and one monarch. Current selected season totals are 12,233 broad-winged hawks and 1,167 sharp-shinned hawks.
– Gaelyn Ong, Arthur W. Green

[Broad-winged hawks are by far the most numerous raptor counted in fall at Chestnut Ridge and other northeastern hawkwatches. However, most are gone from the Hudson Valley region by September’s end; until the straggler mentioned here, the season’s total of broad-wings at Chestnut Ridge had remained unchanged all week. Steve Stanne.]

YOUNG TREES AND SHRUBS LOOKING FOR GOOD STREAMSIDE HOMES

The Hudson Estuary “Trees for Tribs” program is still accepting applications for plantings in late October and early November. The initiative provides free native trees and shrubs, planting materials, technical assistance, and site preparation for qualifying sites along streams in the Hudson River estuary watershed. Applicants must provide volunteer labor for planting and long term maintenance. Applications and additional information are available by emailing Hudson River Estuary Program Stream Buffer Coordinator Beth Roessler, calling (845)256-2253, or visiting the Trees for Tribs website.

FALL 2013 NATURAL HISTORY PROGRAMS

October 19: 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Hooked on Our Waters, a free daylong forum at the CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, will bring together the public, non-profits, and government agencies to explore how we all use the natural water resources around us: making healthy choices about eating fish you catch and fish you buy; restoring the ecology of New York City’s waters; creating water stewards; and connecting to the water. John Waldman will give the keynote address – “New York Harbor: Four Centuries between Eagles.” Space is limited and registration is required. For more information and to register visit the Hooked on Our Waters website. Sponsored by the Hudson River Fish Advisory Outreach Project and New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program; email the Fish Advisory Project or call 518-402-7537 for more information.

HUDSON RIVER MILES

The Hudson is measured north from Hudson River Mile 0 at the Battery at the southern tip of Manhattan. The George Washington Bridge is at HRM 12, the Tappan Zee 28, Bear Mountain 47, Beacon-Newburgh 62, Mid-Hudson 75, Kingston-Rhinecliff 95, Rip Van Winkle 114, and the Federal Dam at Troy, the head of tidewater, at 153. The tidal section of the Hudson constitutes a bit less than half the total distance – 315 miles – from Lake Tear of the Clouds to the Battery. Entries from points east and west in the watershed reference the corresponding river mile on the mainstem.

TO CONTRIBUTE YOUR OBSERVATIONS OR TO SUBSCRIBE

The Hudson River Almanac is compiled and edited by Tom Lake and emailed weekly by Steve Stanne, education coordinator at DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program. Share your observations by e-mailing them to        [email protected].

To subscribe to the Almanac (or to unsubscribe), go to DEC’s Email Lists page, enter your email address, and click on “Submit.” A page listing available subscription topics will appear. Scroll down; under the heading “Natural Areas and Wildlife” is the section “Lakes and Rivers” with a listing for the Hudson River Almanac. Click on the check box to subscribe. While there, you may wish to subscribe to RiverNet, which covers projects, events and actions related to the Hudson and its watershed, or to other DEC newsletters and information feeds.

USEFUL LINKS

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s high and low tide and tidal current predictions are invaluable for planning boating, fishing, and other excursions on and along the estuary.

Historical information on the movements of the salt front is available on the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hudson River Salt Frontwebsite.

Copies of past issues of the Hudson River Almanac, Volumes II-VIII, are available for purchase from the publisher, Purple Mountain Press, (800) 325-2665.