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

Posts tagged “Hiking

Returned from Backpacking

Group Photo

This weekend Young Naturalist J, his father and I did some backpacking along the North Country Trail here in Allegany State Park. We stayed two nights at this lean-to on the western side of the park and you can tell from the pictures that we had an amazing time.

Autumn Starts Tomorrow (sad face)

Along the Creek
Morning Sunlight

Summer went way to fast for me this year and hard to believe that it is autumn already. I took these pictures just yesterday along McIntosh Stream in Allegany State Park. Doesn’t it still look like summer to you?? (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…)

Migrant Waterfowl Moving Through Allegany State Park

American Coot with Canada Goose
American Coot with Canada Goose.

Today was my first sign that waterfowl started moving through the Allegany State Park area. Canada Goose have been in the area all summer long (go figure!) and the Double-crested Cormorants have been around for the past month (or two). Woodducks and Mallards . . . where did you go?? But I never expected to find this odd shaped bird swimming in Red House Lake?? . . . . YEAH!! An American Coot!! Lucky the Geese were keeping this Coot’s attention while I was trying to photograph it . . . . I got “fairly” close to it. (more…)

Northern Slimy Salamander

Northern Slimy Salamander
Northern Slimy Salamander

While out on the Conservation Trail last week, I came across a few Northern Slimy Salamanders under some logs. They are cute little salamanders but think twice before picking them up!! Their skin has a secretion that is very sticky and hard to wash off your hands!! Hello . . . that’s why they call them “slimy” salamanders!! They are identified out in the field bytheir shiny black coloring and white spots.

Visit by Nature Woman

Closed Gentian
Closed Gentian

Today Nature Woman (Pam) made a trip out to Allegany State Park to visit and do some hiking! Even though it was cold and cloudy outside . . . . we still had a fun day hiking through the park looking for many fall wildflowers to photograph. (more…)

Hide and Bird Seek

Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Rose-breasted Grosbeak

I have dishes to clean, laundry to do, cat fur to vacuum up, etc . . . . but after dinner I craved the need to find warblers! Who doesn’t have a bazillion of things to do at home?? But, I couldn’t help heading over to Allegany State Park to seek out some birdies (You shocked?). Within the first few minutes of walking along the bike path I heard a Red-Eyed Vireo calling!! The little red eyed freak wouldn’t show itself but did get a quick glimpse of a Magnolia Warbler. I finally gave up looking and continued walking along the path. “Shhhhh, their is a bigger bird in the dogwood”!! I use my bird squeaker that I keep on my camera and what pops up but a Rose-breased Grosbeak!! Hey, I have not seen these guys in a few weeks! “What Up”?? That was enough to scatter not the one but probably 10 Grosbeaks in their! Nope, make that 9 . . . . one of them is a Gray Catbird. (more…)

Movement South

Sun Set Along Red House Lake

Every day is feeling more like fall with a few leaves changing color and goldenrods becoming bright yellow. I only had two (maybe three) hummingbirds visiting my hummingbird feeder this morning and couldn’t find any Chimney Swifts this evening (assuming they are all gone now). During the daylight hours there was a migrant Phoebe wondering around the yard. I can’t even tell you the last time I saw an Eastern Phoebe in my neighborhood. As much as I hate to admit it . . . . fall is here and migrants are moving south in full force. (more…)

Interrupted Fern

by Pam

Even though I’m a major tree lover from the time I could climb them, I also love the large diversity of plants and other living things that grow on and underneath trees, including wildflowers, club moss, mushrooms, moss, lichens, liverworts, horsetails and ferns.

Ferns were just interesting green things I used to appreciate but never really thought about identifying until I took a field botany course and found out identifying ferns is really not hard at all! The best book for identifying ferns is Fern Finder, by Anne C. Hallowell and Barbara G. Hallowell.


This particular book is a guide for native ferns of central and northeastern US and Eastern Canada. There is the Pacific Coast Fern Finder, also.

One fern that doesn’t need keying out is the Interrupted Fern (Osmunda Claytoniana). While I read and learned about this unique fern for my class, I never imagined when I first saw it growing at Allegany State Park in May that it would be as tall as it was at that time. The fronds (“leaves”) can grow up to six feet long! Interrupted fern has fertile pinnae (“leaflets”) “interrupting” sterile pinnae in the center of each frond. There are usually two to four pairs of fertile pinnae with dark brown sporangia when they’re ripe. They wither and fall, leaving vacant spots on the leaf stem after midsummer. Here’s what the fertile pinnae looked like at Allegany State Park on May 26th: (more…)

We Got Goofy Once it Got Dark

glow sticks

I am not sure if words can explain the many strange things that happened once it got dark at the lean-to Friday night. . . . so I will let the pictures and videos tell the whole story!



North Country Trip 2007

Some of the views along the Hike

Along the North Country Trail

As you know from the previous post that Young Naturalist J, his father (Jeff) and I went backpacking along the North Country Trail here in Allegany State Park yesterday. We started down on the Bay State Road and hiked up to the Lean-To along this section of the trail. The uphill hike wasn’t very fun with temperatures nearing 90F degrees, very muggy and I was bitten up by mosquitoes along the trail. I took everyone along a re-route section of the trail that is being proposed and it only made it harder since it was 0.7 miles off trailing hiking. The original alternative probably would have been a smarter route for us to do. (more…)

At the Lean-To

I tried posting a picture on flickr but wasn’t successful! So, I wanted to give a whats-up post via my cell phone to see if i can get it working! I am very happy having cellphone reception as we are watching the weather moving in tonight via radar! Ugg! Well, taking a ton of pictures and we have a Barred Owl vocalizing as I am trying to type on this tiny phone! I am off to bed an will post again once I get home! (more…)


Purple Headed Sneezeweed

Purple Headed Sneezeweed (all-time fave flower)

Yesterday I took a family that I have known for a very long time into the Big Basin area (old growth forest) of Allegany State Park. We had a wonderful time looking at the many old trees and then a few other unexpected treasures. We have an ongoing joke about how whenever I take them for a walk we somehow end up off trail and “sort of” get lost! I couldn’t let them down this year so everywhere we hiked “it was” off trail!! (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!


solitary sandpiper

Solitary Sandpiper

Today I joined my friends Tim B. and Mike D. for a birding adventure for early shorebirds moving through the area. It was a beautiful sunny day but it seemed very quite with only a few songbirds vocalizing. Highlights were Solitary Sandpipers, Northern Harrier, flock of Kingbirds, and a Sharp-shinned Hawk. (more…)


red eft

When it rains the Red-Efts come out!


I had Young Naturalist J with me and I know that he LOVES going spotlighting for wildlife. I asked him if he would like to see how “I” like to go spotlighting?? We saw this little critter out along the tree line and so I pulled my truck over on the side of the road! We jumped out of my truck with camera and spotlight in hand. . . . . this is what we found . . . .


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…)

The Day Before the 4th here in Allegany State Park

Red House Lake Boat Launch

Red House Lake Boat Launch


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…)

Evening Birding

RTPI Group

The group looking for the Yellow-throated Warbler

Last night I joined the “Birding Across the Chautauqua –Allegany Region” field trip to Allegany State Park. This was their 3rd fieldtrip which focused on the birds during the evening and nighttime hours, especially owls!! This field trip is sponsored by the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, Jamestown Audubon Society and the Pfeiffer Nature Center. (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!

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:

Wordless Wednesday Signs of Summer

Summer Views

Views from around Red House Lake.