My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!


Enjoying my Day in the Snow

Stonefly (Plecoptera species)

I spent the afternoon hiking along the snowmobile trail here in Allegany State Park today. Birds were quite along the trail but I did come across a few Kinglets and Chickadees. The only insect that I could locate were multiple Stoneflies visible along the fresh snow that came down last night. Stoneflies are also known as Plecoptera and the nymphs live in streams, creeks and lakes. Some of the adults are known to emerge during the winter months and I was not surprised to find these Plecoptera wondering around.

Summer Insects [videos]

Black Swallowtail

Birdclub meeting this evening and not sure when I will be posting again! (edit: decided not to go at the last second! It’s snowing and the roads are not that good.  Looks like a Netflix and catch up with LOST that I missed last night)  So, here are a few videos that I would like to share with everyone! So, put your feet up . . . its Friday! (more…)

Where Adult Butterflies Winter

fallen into the snow
Fallen into the snow!

When temperatures reach – 0°F you don’t expect to find any adult butterflies in your back yard. Ok, here is my story . . . Yesterday I planned on starting a fire in the fireplace to help defray the cost of my gas bill (because temperatures are soo cold). I brought my first load of wood into the house and then returned for my second load! I notice in the white snow something that looked exactly like a butterfly standing up! Naa, it had to be bark right? Nope, with a closer inspection it was an Eastern Comma that fallen out of the woodpile and into the snow! (more…)

Remembering Summer Bugs [Wordless Wednesday]

big hornet

Things we don’t normally think about during the winter months when you live in snow country!

Butterflies – 2007 Checklist

monarch pair
Monarch Pair

I decided to split my 2007 Nature Checklist into 5 different categories; Butterflies & Skippers, Amphibians, Reptiles, Mammals and Birds! I would like to start this series with the Butterfly (31) and Skipper (12) species I found within Western New York State. Between high gas prices and limited time to get out to look for butterflies in 2007, I ended up seeing a lower than normal numbers of butterflies. My first butterflies was in Allegany State Park on the 21st of April with an Eastern Comma and a Mourning Cloak. My biggest butterfly day was on the 10th of June 2007 with 19 species. Ya, Ya, I have had better years!!  (more…)

End of 2007

Hummingbird Moth
Hummingbird Moth photo from August 2003

It seems like the end of 2007 has been just buzzing by so quickly. I had a hard time thinking of a critter that buzzed and suddenly I remember some older (2003) video that I captured of a Hummingbird Moth!!   Hope you enjoy this cute little moth! (more…)

White-marked Tussock Moth

By Young Naturalist D

My Dad found a caterpillar on a plum tree during the last days of summer (August 27th). It had a red head with black antennas. At first glance they appeared twice as long as they really were because of all the long black hairs on them. The caterpillar also had four white clumps of hair sticking up along the upper part of its back. Starting at the second hairy white clump there was a yellow stripe on either side running down its back. It also had white clumps of hair around every leg. Overall it had a light green body. Dad thought something so strange looking might not be good for his plum tree so he brought it inside and asked us four kids to figure out what it was.

White-Marked Tussock moth
White-marked Tussock Moth photo by Young Naturalist H.


Butterflies and Kids

summer azure
Summer Azure

Children are naturally attracted to butterflies and moths, just as they are to birds. However, unless you have a busy bird feeder or larger raptors flying around, it can be difficult for kids to locate birds in the wild. Songbirds do not typically sit still long enough to be seen and can quickly disappear as fast as they arrive. I myself have a hard time seeing many of the birds I hear fluttering around the trees and shrubs.

Praying Mantis Wordless Wednesday

Praying Mantis
Praying Mantis.


Resting and Enjoying Everything Around Me

Monarch butterflies are still flying.

Instead of heading home early from work today to take a nap (like I wanted to do) . . . . I just kept busy spending the day with Adele looking butterflies and dragonflies that are still flying around. We only located 3 Monarch butterflies, 2 Darner species and a dozen or so Familiar Bluets over in Quaker Lake. I have closed the Owl Nets this evening due to a storm pushing through the area just after dusk (which gives me a rest day). . . . so here are a few random pictures I have taken that I wanted to share. (more…)

Glow Worms and Saw-whets in that order!

Lighting Bug Larva
Glow Worm (Lighting Bug Larva)

Last night (9th October) was another successful evening with my Northern Saw-whet Owl Banding Project here in Allegany State Park. I opened the nets just after dusk and then headed out for my first net check at 8pm. I had hoped for some owls but was more dazzled by the number of lighting bug (or firefly) larva that I found moving along the ground. (more…)

Tiger Serpent of the forest

Kiss me - I don't smoke

Today we come across this yellow eyed serpent that lives in the forest. We found this guy while hiking along the North Country Trail here in Allegany State Park with a group of people (Thanks Lynn for finding him). This was my first time seeing any serpent like this before and to be honest . . . . I thought it looked just like Barney the Dinosaur (can you hear the music yet?). (more…)


A Summer Millipede
A popular Millipede photo I took in 2005.

mil•li•pede (noun) or mil•le•pede
a small plant-eating arthropod with a tubular body made up of segments. Most segments have two pairs of legs. Class: Diplopoda (more…)

Chimney Swifts in Allegany State Park

Chimney Swift
Chimney Swift

One of my joys of being around Allegany State Park is watching the Chimney Swifts entering chimneys around the Administration Building during dusk hours. These unique birds look almost like flying cigars and are remarkable fliers. You typically hear them chattering before you ever get a chance to see them. Chimney Swifts are constantly flying throughout the day in search of food and can travel long distances. They will roost and nest in chimneys and are historically known to use the hollow trees in the forest for nesting. I sometimes wonder if they are not still doing this in some areas. (more…)

Insect Searching

Green Darner up close

Green Darner Up Close

Between dodge ball and many other fun activities this weekend . . . . we still found a few hours to focus on insects. We headed out to the Bova Area and quickly caught a few butterflies species flying around. They included the Common Ringlets, Pearl Crescents and Eastern Tailed Blue but those dragonflies were what everyone was most focused on. (more…)

All Day and Night

monarchs are everywhere

Just some Monarchs meandering around the flowers!

I am having a hard time saying this . . . . but I am going to “try” and take a little break from the blog over the Labor Day Weekend (we all deserve a break from time to time)!! (more…)

Tagging my first Monarch

Just Hatched Monarch

Just Hatched

While Young Naturalist C was in Cape Cod watching Whales and having a good time at the beach . . . . those of us back in Allegany State Park were butterfly sitting her caterpillars/chrysalis while she was off on vacation. Just last Thursday her oldest Monarch Butterfly emerged from its chrysalis (who Young Naturalist C named Lulu) and so I asked her mother if I could tag my first monarch (C couldn’t be around to tag it). (more…)


kids fishing

Yesterday the Recreation Department hosted their first fishing derby here in Allegany State Park. This derby was for kids aged 15 and under with over 150 children who registered to participate in this event. I was asked to help with the fishing tournament at one of the check in stations to report their captures (then release their fish due to this being a catch and release event). (more…)

A Day for Monarchs

monarch pair

a monarch pair doing . . . you know what they are doing!

Recently I have sought after changing my “custom header” to a new monarch picture! I have found it very hard to find that ideal snapshot due to the strange shape the header needs to be!! So, after work I was off to Red House Lake in search of some monarch butterflies!

Unwanted Visitor at the SWAT site!

Juv Downy Woodpecker

A very light colored juvenile Downy Woodpecker

We had a wonderful day banding birds over at the SWAT MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) banding station today. We had a family visit who has been camping here in the park for a very long time, two couples from buffalo make it down, Young Naturalist C (who was the Banding Assistant for the day) and her sister Young Naturalist E visit the banding station. But, you ask, “who was the unwanted visitor??”!! I will get to it . . . . I promise!! (more…)

Red Admiral

red admiral

I was able to spend a little time today looking for butterflies here in Allegany State Park. These guys appear to be everywhere right now and are have an irruption year. The last time we had an irruption of Red Admirals was back in 2001 when I was working for another nature center. Not sure if this is weather related or not . . . . but it is still fun finding them just about everywhere. (more…)

“Northern” Wordless Wednesday

Northern Pearly-eye

Northern Pearly-eye


Baby Day at the CLDC Site

American Robin

American Robin fledgling.

Yesterday was our “Baby Day” at our CLDC MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) banding session. It appears that many of our fledglings are just starting to fledge the nest and will soon be on their own!! (more…)

Mistake you only make once!


bad day