Friday, September 9, 2016

Sorry But I Left The Village: Thomas and Cat Mountains Bolton Landing, N.Y.

Sometimes I get out and about away from the village. My husband and I got up to these mountains two years ago. The views from both summits are just wonderful. The cabin on Thomas Mountain has rocking chairs, a couch, a loft for sleeping and great views of Lake George. Cat Mountain has AMAZING views of the the Narrows, Tongue Mountain, Black Mountain, and south down the lake. Take a look! Just hiked here again on September 2, 2016 with my friend Ali!
Looking South Down Lake George from Cat Mountain

Dark-eyed Junco Breed in the Higher Elevations but Will Be Back To Us in Winter

View from Cat Mountain: Tongue Mountain Range With Black Mountain Center

The Narrows: View from Cat Mountain

Cabin on Thomas Mountain: First Come, First Served

Cabin Interior with Sleeping Loft Above

View from Cabin's Picture Window of Lake George

Yellow Trail to Cat Mountain along Old Logging Road

Out and About: Round Lake Nature Notes Summer 2016

           Sometimes I find it hard to leave Round Lake to go somewhere else to hike, paddle and bird watch. There’s so much to see and do here, whether it’s the water, woods, gardens, or trails, that I’m happy to be home and out and about. A constant sighting this spring and summer has been Rabbits! I think there’s a cottontail in every garden, yard, wooded edge, and trail this season. I have one that visits daily and nibbles the Lupines and chews a specific patch of grass. It sits very still in the yard as we come and go. It is undetected by the dog. The mild winter, without extremely cold temperatures and lots of snow cover, helped rabbits and their young ones readily find vegetation to eat. They start reproducing in February and keep on hopping until fall. New development and habitat loss have likely caused more cottontails to move into the village too. Development has caused a greater number of garter snakes to be on Bob Sweet’s property than in the past. For the very first time, Florence Cruz, who lives near the new development, has had two broods of Blue Birds in her nest box at her home on Cleveland Avenue. Gil Rigney was happy to see a Bluebird drinking from the birdbath in her yard. We can provide cover, food, water, and nesting spots in our village gardens to help wildlife through this habitat change.
      Then there’s the chipmunks. They are everywhere! I remember a time when it was just squirrels, Round Lake’s very first residents. It seems that those of us with vegetable gardens all have a chipmunk raiding garden story. From grape, cherry and even the large tomatoes, to ground cherries, strawberries and even hot peppers. What did they devour of yours? In my garden the squirrels sit on the tomato cages and take bites out of the beefsteak tomatoes. The chippies take the husks off the ground cherries before enjoying them. With the hot peppers they stop at the seeds which are the hottest part. But if they didn’t, that would teach them. I don't remember such bad behavior from them in the past, do you?
      I am always eager to see Monarch butterflies around and finally had a first of the season sighting at my milkweed on July 28th. A female flew over all fifty plus of my milkweed plants, stopping and doing what looked like laying eggs. The next day I found an egg on the underside of a milkweed leaf, where Monarchs typically place an egg. I started watching and photographing the egg and then the caterpillar. Unfortunately, the caterpillar disappeared after several days. It was too soon to be off forming a chrysalis but hopefully it got to that point. Photos are on my blog. I did see Monarchs through the month of August in my garden, down on the outlet and at the Round Lake Preserve. It's great habitat for them there with Milkweed and wildflowers growing in the fields up from the Anthony Kill. My friend, JudySelig, reported sightings around town and in her garden on Washington Avenue, as well. Thanks to Aaron Morris who spreads different kinds of milkweed and butterfly weed around the village by giving it to friends and neighbors. I definitely saw more Monarchs this season than last. Let's keep planting Milkweed! I have plenty of pods of seeds I'd love to share. Let me know. Jane, I remember you want some!
      Lastly, the lake is such a wonderful, bird watching, fishing, full moon rising, sunset and sunrise, relaxing and beautiful place to be. Whether you go down to the boat launch, preserve, or get on the lake in a boat, you are rewarded with sightings (Great Blue Heron, Great-crested Cormorants, Bald Eagles, Kingfishers, Ospreys, and more) and just a quiet calm get away. Enjoy it all Round Lakers! Why would we live anywhere else? Hope everyone had a wonderful summer, Diane.

Around the Village in Photos: August 26 - September 1, 2016

What?!?!

Silver-bordered Fritillary

New England Ironweed

Explored This Preserve on Tanner Road Clifton Park. It's a Woodcock Management Area

Asters and Goldenrod in Preserve's Meadow

Turkey Tail Fungus in Preserve's Woods

Jamis and his New Waterbottle

Monday, August 29, 2016

Around the Village in Photos: August 19 - 25, 2016

Finally seeing Monarch butterflies in my yard at the butterfly bush, as well as, at the Round Lake Preserve. Ruby-throated male hummingbirds are being very territorial at my feeders and in the garden. They are chasing each other and flying into one another and guarding the feeders.
Monarch resting on Apple Tree Leaf

Giant Swallowtail Flying to Butterfly Bush

Osprey at Ballston Creek Preserve

Great Blue Heron Nests Ballston Creek Preserve

Hummer Taking a Quick Sip

Monarch at Clover at Round Lake Preserve

View West from Anthony Kill. Three Great Blue Herons were Out and About

Around the Village in Photos: August 12 - 18, 2016

Lots of late summer wildflowers in bloom this week. Also, due to high humidity, mushrooms are thriving!
Chicory

Thistle

Jewelweed or Touch-me-Not

Mushrooms on South Lawn

Happy

Sunny

Mullein: Native Americans lit the dried seed heads and used them as torches

The Rains came and he was Back!!!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Around the Village in Photos: August 5 - 11, 2016

The Very Hungry Monarch Caterpillar August 5th

The Last Time I saw it on the evening of August 5th

Anthony Kill

Monet

Toad in Children's Garden

Brilliant Nasturium

Mountain Mint

Around the Village in Photos: July 29 - August 4, 2016

On July 28th a Female Monarch butterfly came through my garden and investigated all the milkweed plants. On July 29th I started looking to see if she had laid eggs. Monarchs usually lay them on the underside of milkweed leaves. I found one! I started taking notes and pictures. Five days later a caterpillar was crawling on the underside of the leaf. The next day I could see a hole chewed out of the leaf. Each day bigger holes and a bigger caterpillar! By August 4th the caterpillar was easy to see and I didn't use a hand lens. Take a look at the transformation.
Female Monarch on Milkweed July 28th

Monarch Butterfly Egg Found on July 29

Monarch Caterpillar August 2nd

Caterpillar and Chew August 3rd

Chew Holes August 3rd

Getting Bigger August 3rd

Even Bigger August 4th

Caterpillar and Hole Bigger by End of Day August 4th