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


Rooster Tail

Whenever water levels are high in Allegany State Park . . . I always make it a point to see how high the Rooster Tail is over on the Quaker Lake Overspill.  Many years ago, I had seen the Rooster Tail higher than the lake.

Wildgame Innovations x6c

Been using my newer trail camera out behind the house this fall. The question is always . . . . “do the deer see the camera” . . . . without a doubt they do and I am sure many deer are camera shy!! Will not upload every video I capture but from time to time I will let people see the good ones!!!

The Nature Conservancy

Spotted Salamander
Spotted Salamander

Exciting News: The Nature Conservancy has recently published an article on Critical Linkages: Resolving the Conflict Between Roads and Wildlife. With permission TNC used video footage of the Spotted Salamanders that I have filmed here in Allegany State Park. They also used the above photo in the cover of the Massachusetts Nature Conservancy Newsletter.

Baby Mergansers

Mamma Common Merganser
Common Merganser mom and babies

Today found a mother Merganser walking her babies down a drainage ditch. Mom quickly flew when I first saw them and babies followed (see following videos from my iPhone)


Allegany Creek [video]

Great day today and the creek was beautiful!! (more…)

Symphony of Science

Only the coolest science youtube videos ever!!!

Symphony of Science – The Poetry of Reality

American Woodcock Display [Video]

Bird Club
The Cattaraugus County Bird Club

Today the Cattaraugus County Bird Club had a field trip to watch the display of the American Woodcock in Allegany State Park. We started a little after dinner searching for spring migrants but the main purpose of the trip was to find the American Woodcock.

Ponies at Chincoteague [Video]

Chincoteague Ponies

Who doesn’t visit Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and not want to see the Chincoteague Ponies? I assume this is every little girls dream to see these horses Ponies!! I have never read any of the Misty books but they sure have impacted many people’s lives when they were kids. I feel that I must have missed something after visiting this amazing place!

Balls of Fuzz

Muskrat in icy water

It was such a beautiful day out today with warmer sun-rays striking my face! I enjoyed a spectacular walk around Red House Lake and it seemed like the Chipmunks were dancing around their holes saying hello!! This was my first of the year Eastern Chipmunk for me (CHECK) . . . . about time they wake up!

Don’t Move Firewood [Videos]

Campfire and Marshmallows

You might ask “why is this nature blogger nagging everyone about firewood”? Back in December the state passed a new regulation on the movement of firewood and I am afraid that this new rule will be ignored or forgotten by the next person who enjoys their campfire! I am now doing my part in helping everyone understand why it is dangerous to move firewood long distances!! (more…)

Singing Junco

Dark-eyed Junco

What does spring mean to you??? . . . . when do you consider it the first day of spring??? Allegany Tom says “six more weeks of winter” . . . . threecollie brings up a good point “You know we will always have six more weeks up here”! Very true my friend! Another good friend of mine believes that Groundhogs Day should be the first day of spring . . . . why?? . . . it is when you start to notice the birds behaving differently!

What Woodpeckers Eat

Downy Woodpecker

The woodpecker’s main diet is insects that are heard from under the bark of the tree. They will drill a hole and then use their awfully long tongue for pulling the insects out. The tongue is sticky at the end which is helpful in grasping the insect from the center of the tree. You can think of the woodpecker as a tree doctor removing the insects that could potentially do harm to the tree (that’s how I think of them)!!

Annual Skiing Day

coming down the hill at Holimont

Today was our annual skiing/snowboarding day where many of the Young Naturalist, their parents and I got together for a fun day over at the Holimont Ski Resort in Ellicottville, NY. It was such a wonderful day and had some good laughs. After skiing/snowboarding we followed the tradition of eating pizza over at the Depot Restaurant. Hmm Pizza!

Northern Visitors [Video]

Common Redpoll and Pine Siskin

Common Redpoll and Pine Siskin

For the past few weeks my northern guest have continued visiting my bird feeders! Three years ago the Pine Siskins actually stuck around all summer and nested in my back yard! Wouldn’t it be neat to have both Pine Siskins and Redpolls spending the summer with me this year??

Frogs on the Road [Video]

Wood Frog Portrait

Friday night while the Spotted Salamanders were moving, I also had an opportunity to photograph some frogs that were also crossing the road.

Timberdoodle [Video]

American Woodcock photo by Grace – April 2007

One of the easiest ways of finding the American Woodcock (aka Timberdoodle) is to take a trip into a wet meadow around dusk and then wait. Not long after the sun sets you will witness one the most amazing flight display of any of our birds here in the North East. The male Timberdoodle will do its peent call for about 10 or 15 minutes and then take flight into the sky in a circular direction! The American Woodcock has developed a unique flight feather that allows the bird to create a whistle sound when heading towards the sky! After 2 or 3 circles, the bird will return to the earth with the most beautiful lullabies that you will ever hear! Once it has returned to the same location in which it started . . . the American Woodcock will return in peenting again and then repeat its flight display until it’s too dark to see! Below is the video that I captured on Easter Sunday of their display here in Allegany State Park!

Muskrat [Video]

Muskrat smiling for the camera

Yesterday while looking for some Waterfowl . . . we came across this very cooperative Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) who put a show on for us. We watched it dive underwater, grab some vegetation from under the ice and come back up to chew all of the best parts of the plant. We could have watched this cute little guy all day long! These over-sized rodents get their name from some scent glands they have for marking its territory with a strong musky odor! Lucky we didn’t get to smell that odor today but did get some cool photos of the muskrat!

Daytime Barred Owl [video]

barred owl
A hunting Barred Owl in the Rain

This evening I went on a dusk birding trip for some Short-eared Owls within our county (with my birdclub friend Mike D.). This has been a fun project that we have been doing for many years and are never successful in finding any owls (of course). We went a little early this time to look for waterfowl (scouting for tomorrows  trip) and came across this bird. We discussed this large bird we found and trying to decide if it was a Red-tailed Hawk or Rough-legged Hawk (something didn’t look right). We moved my truck for a better angle, pulled the spotting scope out and noticed this bird had dark eyes. Could this have been a Short-eared Owl?? Naaa just a Barred Owl!! Wait . . . it wasn’t even dusk yet??

Pileated Woodpecker [video]

Pileated Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker

Yesterday I came across this enormous black and white woodpecker with a conspicuous bright red crest, while it was working on excavating a huge hole. Actually, I found this bird not far from my mother’s house and was amazed that it allowed me to pull my vehicle right next to it . . . . and it wasn’t spooked!! This Pileated Woodpecker has very little red on its forehead and was lacking the red on the malar region making it a female. Looking at the first photo up close . . . you will notice her brown coloring contrasting with its black wing feathers, which can sometimes be difficult to reliably age the bird (believing that the faded brown feathers were her Juvenal feathers). But, seeing the gray/tan eye coloring (Adults have bright red eyes) will confirm that this woodpecker is a second year bird (meaning she was born during the summer of 2007).

Wood Frogs [springtime]

Wood Frog
Looking at a Wood Frog up close!

I have been teased recently with Nina’s special evening and Tom’s spring is coming posts talking about the big “amphibian/salamander night”! Many might remember my big migration night from last year on the 27 March 2007 and you just never know when the “big night” will happen this spring . . . . well, until maybe a night or two before the big event. I was looking back on my previous dates and they ranged from the 13th of March up to the 7th of April. What I am looking for is the weather to be very warm during the day and a rainy night to happen . . . . and then you will be seeing me standing out in the rain just waiting for the amphibian migration with camera in hand !! (more…)

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…)

Red-winged Blackbird [video]

red-winged blackbird
Female Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbirds are typically found nesting near water or directly in the cat-tails marshes, large grasses or low trees but the nest can also be found in unexpected areas like upland fields or pastures. I found this perfect blackbird nest in the grasses while looking for butterflies in the “Bobolink field” a few summers ago. Just as I looked down at the nest (with camera in hand) both parents decided to give me a friendly greeting . . . . (more…)

Wordless Wednesday Deer in Foggy Field [Video]


Opossum [video]

Playing Possum
Daylight Opossum playing possum

Today I found an Opossum foraging for food along the roadside. Typically I find them during night time hours, so I used this opportunity to try and capture a little video of this ugly guy! I approached very slowly and because it was soo focused on gathering food . . . it did not notice me for about 5 or so minutes. I observed it feeding on something in the grass but couldn’t tell exactly what it was (assuming some kind of grub). I made a little noise to get its attention and then it suddenly played possum! I took a few photos and after backing off some, it came back to life. It showed me its teeth and then decided to run away! The Opossum was still observed foraging in the same field when I returned 15 minutes later to point him out to someone. (more…)