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


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…)

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.

Good First Day Back at Work

I planned on doing an interesting post this evening but was reminded about a meeting that I need to attend on invasive species! So, no big blog posting and no owl banding!! I promise to catch up with everyone blog here soon!!  After taking a weeks vacation, it really wasn’t that hard coming back to work today like I thought it would be!!  But, I do miss sleeping in till 10am each morning!   😦

Fall Orange Sulphur 

Orange Sulphur from October 2002

I did locate an Orange Sulphur fluttering around this sunny warm afternoon (55F). I also had a Mink run across the road and disappeared along the stream somewhere (but couldn’t get a photo of it). We had some Buffleheads and a Scaup species swimming in Quaker Lake today. Red House Lake had a larger group of Buffleheads, Pied-billed Grebes and Horned Grebes!! As you can tell it was a very good day back at work today! (more…)

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…)

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…)

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

Spanish Day at CLDC Banding Site

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler

On Saturday we had a superb day at the CLDC MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) banding station. We banded 18 different species of birds, 23 were newly banded individuals, 9 were recaptured birds and we were able to collected 14 Avian Bird Flu samples. We had both Young Naturalist J and Young Naturalist C as my banding assistants for this banding session (including their parents). Young Naturalist C brought her friend Amy with her to the station and of course I also assigned some duties for her to do. (more…)

A day of relaxing!

Long Dash (pair)

The female Long Dash was quickly flapping her wings and attracting the male.

Today I spent the day catching up on things I have been neglecting for a while!! Some of these things included sleep, things around the house, spending time with the cats and some time with the family. It was too nice of a day not to enjoy the outside, so I took a quick walk down into the Wolf Run area of Allegany State Park to search for Butterflies (which I have also been neglecting). (more…)

Allegany Post by Others

Having some problems with the post I had planned! SORRY! So, here are a few other blog post that I have found that are related to the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage that everyone should check out :

Biological Ramblings – You must see the amazing herps that he found here in Allegany!

A Passion for Nature – Jen had such a wonderful time that I rarely saw her!

Dragonfly Eye  – Jeremy is amazing with the Dragonflies! Just check out the Dflies he found! Hint (Common Sanddragon)

Life in the Bristolwood was a blog that I found via a google search!

Jeff  – How cool, found also in the google search and Jeff attended my Old Growth Walk!  Would have commented but not a my space member.

Bill of the Birds – who was our Saturday evening speaker! Heck, he’s BT3 what else can I say!

While you are catching up on the recent Allegany Nature Pilgrimage post, I will figure out what went wrong with the post I had planned!!  BTW:  Wednesday morning I am doing my rescheduled SWAT – MAPS banding that was canceled due to he rain on Monday.  Expect many more great up close banding photos!

One Year Ago, I got my …

Way back in high school we never had a camera club but we did have a journalism class. I had dated one of the girls who did the photography in the class and yes, my first kiss was in the dark room! I can still feel the goose-bumps just thinking about it. While spending many hours in the dark room (wink), I also learned about the basics of film processing! She told me which chemicals to use, proper framing of the pictures, and many other tricks in developing black and white photography. This experience ended up getting me the job of developing all the photos for a local weekly newspaper for about 2 years. At that time I used a free 35mm point and shoot camera for all my crazy little pictures that I took. Then I finally purchased my Nikon 6006 (SLR) back in 1995 and carried this camera everywhere I went. Birds were my passion and using a 400mm was essential for me in capturing them on film. This was also my earlier years of doing Environmental Education and I switched over to taking slide film instead of 35mm film. Using slide projectors were the way of life for so many years and I never thought that would ever change? (more…)

Its has been 206 days since. . . .


. . . . I have seen a Monarch Butterfly.  While walking around Red House Lake here in Allegany State Park this evening, I observed my very first Monarch for 2007! It is so hard to believe that it was over 6 months ago when these wonderful butterflies were migrating south to winter in California and Mexico. Their offspring continue their cycle and now moving back north again! I would assume the one I saw was a female and probably laying numerous eggs while moving north. Shouldn’t be too long before they become very common and they begin their movements south again.

When you find your first monarch butterfly, make sure you report it on Journey North’s website at:

Gardens and Meredith with Monarchs

Tom's Garden

Recently I have been seeing post from my blogging friends about how they have been working on their gardens. I figured I probably should post something about my garden that I have!! This photo was taken of my garden in my back yard which does require pruning of weeds. I spend absolutely no time planting any flowers but somehow these flowers always find their way growing in this garden of mine. (more…)

Little time to take notice of nature!

White Admiral

It is hard going to work with so many things going through my head right now. This weekend is our 2nd annual ASP Geobash where we will probably have anywhere from 300 to 500 people attending. Lucky I have an amazing committee of 16 that have done so much of the work and I am very appreciated for everything they have done. But, I have been getting non-stop emails regarding the event with so many last second things to think about. I just want the event to be here and happening!! I must admit that I am excited but then scared at the same time?? (more…)

Sometimes you are better off birding at home

As anticipated, today was a wonderful “new” species day with 5 first for 2007s and a Cabbage White (CHECK) butterfly. The second that I walked outside (to head to work) I heard two Red-eyed Vireos signing (CHECK) in the trees across the street. I didn’t want to go to work but knew in 8 more hours that I would be enjoying the birdies again.

Northern Parula

Northern Parula way up in the pines. (more…)

Spring Butterfly Day


I had a late start in getting outside this morning, which resulted in seeing a few birds. I worked hard to come across the Cedar Waxwing (CHECK) and Baltimore Oriole (CHECK) which were both first for 2007’s. I took advantage of the late day to search for some spring butterflies. I started my search in an area where the Toothwart (Dentaria diphylla) grows. I had hoped to find Allegany State Park’s only butterfly species of concern called the West Virginia White. What is interesting is that the NY State Natural Heritage Program (NYNHP) list Allegany State Park as the best place to see the West Virginia White here in New York State. If you head over to the West Virginia White cover page, you will see that someone (hint) has a photo credit! (more…)