Wildlife

A Place You have to Visit Jones Pond is one of those places that requires a visit or two every year. And so, the other evening Wren and I could be found preparing to set off onto the small, intimate body of water. She played in the shallows while I unloaded the boat. Once ready I kicked us off from shore, spotting a Broad-winged Hawk disappear into the trees as I did.... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Birding, Fall, Outdoor Recreation, Paddling, Wildlife
Just off of the main strip in downtown Saranac Lake there lives a rare creature of impressive proportions. First spotted in the spring of 2018, a lawn serpent still thrives on Woodruff Street, where its enormous form threads the waves of grass, much to the delight of the cryptozoologists and curious onlookers alike. Despite the serpent’s ferocious appearance, it’s quite tame. Once you’ve... [Read More]
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Author:Shaun Kittle
Categories:Arts, Family fun, Wildlife
A beautiful morning It was a sunny and warming morning when Wren, my dog, and I set off along the Bloomingdale Bog Trail to do some birding. We had walked the north end of the trail off Route 55 in Bloomingdale the previous week to check out the Gray Jays, but on this day we were hiking from the south entrance off Route 86 north of Saranac Lake. Wren and I often walk there, but my plan on this... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Birding, Dog Friendly, Fall, Hiking, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation, Spring, Summer, Wildlife
Chilly Spring Weather While it may not have been welcomed by many folks, my skis and I were happy about the chilly weather we had for much of March and April. I was out skiing and enjoying the snow as much as I could. But, when the weather turned warmer and finished off the cross-country skiing season, it ushered in spring birding and I happily set aside my skis for my... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Birding, Hiking, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation, Spring, Wildlife, winter
Blue Skies and a Day of Birding With a beautiful blue winter sky above us, my brother, nephew, and I set out the other day to enjoy some boreal birding in the Bloomingdale Bog Complex north of Saranac Lake. The afternoon was forecast to turn rainy (ugh) anyway, so we wanted to enjoy the snow and winter before that happened. And for those of us who aren't yet ready for spring, this is the... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Birding, Fall, Family fun, Hiking, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation, Snowshoe, Wildlife, winter
Monitoring the snow depth The beginning of ski season is often a game of figuring out how much snow depth we have and how much snow coverage is needed to explore certain trails. So early season skis tend to be on open trails and fields which catch more snowfall – unless the wind is pushing it off. With the depth of our snow increasing of late and with the storm late last week, Wren (my four... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Cross Country Skiing, Dog Friendly, Family fun, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation, Skiing, Wildlife, winter
A Quick Hike If time to fit in a hike is short, then Mount Baker is always a good bet. After all, it is only about a mile to the summit, and it offers a rewarding view for the effort. And so, with a few friends in town in search of an easy hike, Baker was our choice. Colors and Birds Wren led us up the trail, through a golden beech forest on the backside of the mountain.... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Birding, Dog Friendly, Fall, foliage, Hiking, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation, Saranac Lake 6er, Spring, Summer, Wildlife
Below you will get a small taste of paddling the Adirondacks and the Saranac Lake region during the fall foliage season. With peak season coming fast, you don’t want to waste time planning — just get out there. I have selected four locations of the many available to recommend, so take a gander. There's a backcountry lake, a backcountry pond, a big water lake, and an Adirondack river.... [Read More]
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Author:Spencer Morrissey
Categories:Birding, Fall, Family fun, foliage, Paddling, Wildlife
A changing landscape Spring is an amazing time of transition in the Saranac Lake Region of the Adirondacks. For the past few weeks Wren and I have been exploring it on our daily – and often twice daily – walks, monitoring the changes as they’ve been happening. Even as the woods remained filled with snow, the indications of spring were everywhere. Here are a few highlights of our... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Birding, Dog Friendly, Family fun, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation, Spring, Wildlife, winter
Deep SnowIt's spring and the Adirondacks are, predictably, unpredictable. Recently we've had a few amazing snow falls alternating with warm spring days. There's no guarantee how long the snow will last, or if another storm will grace us before the warm weather firmly settles in the mountains. For now, I'll take advantage of the snow that's still here, and although not the popular vote - I wouldn'... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:winter, Wildlife, Skiing, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Dog Friendly, Cross Country Skiing
The Time of Year to Count Birds While many of our regional Christmas Bird Counts occur closer to Christmas, the Saranac Lake count happens near the New Year and I was able to help with it again this year. The count is popular with local birders because it covers both Saranac Lake and Lake Placid and because it also covers Bloomingdale Bog, Bigelow Road, and some of the boreal habitats... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Birding, Cross Country Skiing, Events, Family fun, Hiking, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation, Snowshoe, Wildlife, winter
Flocks of Feeding BirdsWinter birding across the region often involves searching for specialty birds which migrate to our area or linger during the cold months. With our warblers, flycatchers, vireos, and others long gone, this usually means we are looking for flocks of birds – many of which visit yards and bird feeders to help get them through this lean time of year.Bohemian Waxwings Have Been... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:winter, Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Birding
Once upon a time, all an avid hunter needed was an Adirondack Guide and a campfire. The storied abundance of local hunting and fishing were an early attraction bringing visitors to our wilderness. This was especially true once W.H.H. Murray (aka Adirondack Murray) wrote "Adventures in the Wilderness," which was published in 1869.The six million acres of the Adirondack Park still offer a... [Read More]
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Author:Pamela Merritt
Categories:Wildlife, Natural History, Hunting, Fall, Conservation
One of My Favorite Times of YearWhile our recent warm weather and the general southerly flow of air had seemed to slow the arrival of migrants through the region, the last few days have really picked up the pace. It has added a great deal of excitement to my daily walks with Wren, and these mixed flocks of migrants and dispersing birds make the late summer one of my favorite times of year to go... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Wildlife, Summer, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Fall, Birding
First Hike of the SpringWith our snow melted and ski season over, it was time for Wren and I to take our inaugural hike of the season. We’ve been walking at places like the Bloomingdale Bog Trail and the railroad tracks behind Lake Colby, but we hadn’t done a proper hike yet this spring. And Baker Mountain is a great place to break in the hiking season.The sun and clouds had staged a skirmish... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Wildlife, Summer, Spring, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Family fun, Dog Friendly
Ringing Telephones in My YardI’ve been waking each morning of late to the jingling song of Dark-eyed Juncos which have been filling my yard and gorging on bird seed. I kept a few juncos around through much of the winter, but as spring has pushed in from the south they have followed in numbers. Then a new song was added to their ringing telephone chorus early last week. A Fox Sparrow – a migrant... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Wildlife, Spring, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Birding
A Crew of Students from SyracuseThe birding club from SUNY-ESF in Syracuse came up this past weekend to look for Adirondack birds with me. I teach Field Ornithology courses for ESF at Cranberry Lake Bio Station during the summer and I’m always excited to see folks again. We met in Bloomingdale Bog where the group was having difficulty attracting the attention of any Gray Jays near the feeders. So... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:winter, Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation, Dog Friendly, Birding
Cold Weather BirdingWinter birding in Saranac Lake and the rest of the Adirondacks often revolves around finding resident boreal species – not a bad consolation for a cold walk. And so, Wren and I have been out throughout the winter to find species like Black-backed Woodpecker, Gray Jay, and Boreal Chickadee. The past month has also brought Bohemian Waxwings – a winter specialty – from the north... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:winter, Wildlife, Spring, Snowshoe, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Dog Friendly, Birding
Does Bigfoot live in the Adirondacks? Or is he just here for a vacation?While discussions about Bigfoot can seem rather recent in our United States history, Native Americans have talked about Sasquatch for hundreds of years. Often considered a West Coast phenomenon, sightings have also appeared all over the Adirondacks, from Saranac Lake in the north to a famous sighting in Whitehall, in the... [Read More]
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Author:Pamela Merritt
Categories:Wildlife, Trail Running, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Hiking
Using the Long Weekend to Go BirdingMy brother Dave recently took advantage of the long weekend and came up for some winter birding in our area. Saturday’s weather offered up light snow showers, but warmer temperatures than we’ve had of late, and we headed out with Wren to Bigelow Road to start our day. Despite the pleasant temperature, the road was quiet, although we did hear a Boreal Chickadee... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:winter, Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Hiking, Family fun, Dog Friendly, Birding
Traveling North For CarnivalMy niece Rebecca has been asking to come to Winter Carnival in Saranac Lake the past couple years, but has always had conflicts with school and other obligations. This year her regular requests finally won my family over and they came north last weekend to enjoy the beginning of Carnival for the first time. They explored the ice palace both during the day and at night... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Wildlife, Skiing, Outdoor Recreation, Family fun, Dog Friendly, Cross Country Skiing, Birding, winter
Lots of Snow So We Can PlayAs usual, Wren and I have been cross-country skiing on a regular basis this winter as our snow, once a bit thin, has been piling up. One of our favorite places to go is the network of trails off of the Fish Pond Trail in Lake Clear. The trails there are designated cross-country skiing trails and they wind through beautiful deciduous and mixed forest and around the... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:winter, Wildlife, Skiing, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Family fun, Dog Friendly, Cross Country Skiing
 The “Side Hunt”Before 1900, birders took part in a holiday tradition called the Christmas “Side Hunt”. People would choose sides and head into the field with guns to see which group could bring back the most birds! Much of the nineteenth century saw ornithologists using guns not binoculars. If you wanted to see a bird, you picked up a gun and shot it.Conservation Movement BeginsAt the turn... [Read More]
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Author:Joan Collins
Categories:winter, Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation, Conservation, Birding
Heading to ScarfaceIt had been a little while since I had been there, so the other day Wren and I grabbed my snowshoes and headed to the Scarface Mountain Trail in Ray Brook. My usual choice for winter activity is cross country skiing. But, I often find that I am more observant of my surroundings when I’m on foot, since I’m able to take my time. This means I don’t have to focus on the terrain so... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:winter, Wildlife, Snowshoe, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Family fun, Dog Friendly
A Cold and Snowy Time of YearWith the holidays and colder months of the year looming, some folks may think that birding in our area has gone into hibernation with many of our mammal species. But in fact the winter months can be a great time to explore the quiet, white woods, and it can be a particularly good time to search for boreal species of birds. After all, while most of our species migrate... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:winter, Wildlife, Snowshoe, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Dog Friendly, Birding
Shorebirds in the ParkWhile the Champlain Valley rightfully gets the most attention in our region as the place to search for sandpipers and other shorebirds, some shorebirds do invariably make their way south through the central part of the Park. It’s just a matter of finding them since they don’t stay around for long. For instance, over the weekend while I was out looking for warblers along Lake... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Wildlife, Summer, Paddling, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Family fun, Fall, Birding
5 Overlooked Destinations for Hiking, Paddling, and/or Trail Running1. Floodwood MountainGetting ThereFrom the intersection of Route 86 and Route 3 follow Route 86 toward Paul Smiths. Continue for 5.0 miles to Route 186 on the left. Follow Route 186 to its end where it turns into Route 30 (approx. 4-miles). Follow Route 30 west for 5.75 miles to Floodwood Road on the right – this is easy to drive... [Read More]
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Author:Spencer Morrissey
Categories:Wildlife, Trail Running, Paddling, Outdoor Recreation, Hiking, Family fun, Birding
Kayaking & Canoeing Top 10The beauty of paddling in the Saranac Lake area is the abundance of choices. But the sheer amount of Adirondacks on offer can be overwhelming! Here’s some Top 10 Paddling Spots to consider when it’s time to get out that canoe, kayak, or stand up paddleboard (SUP.)Wonderful WildernessWe have plenty of pristine and gorgeous places where the only human sound might... [Read More]
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Author:Pamela Merritt
Categories:Summer, Paddling, Outdoor Recreation, Fishing, Family fun, Dog Friendly, Wildlife
Top Winter Activies List in Saranac Lake NYFamily fun is easy in Saranac Lake. No matter what size, shape, or attention span that family might have.Whatever the weather, we have activities to help everyone explore winter at their own pace. Share our amazing wildlife up close, slide down a snowy mountain, and ride our indoor carousel.Don't worry about what to do with the kids. From their first... [Read More]
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Author:Pamela Merritt
Categories:winter, Wildlife, Snowshoe, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Family fun, Dog Friendly
            Unfortunately for those of us who love to play in the snow, our temperatures have been fluctuating widely this ski season.  Our warm ups have been followed closely by deep freezes, creating an icy base and constantly varying conditions.  As a result you can’t waste time in enjoying good ski conditions – otherwise they... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:winter, Wildlife, Snowshoe, Skiing, Outdoor Recreation, Family fun, Dog Friendly, Cross Country Skiing, Birding
            On my regular walks along Lake Colby in Saranac Lake, I’ve been finding a variety of ducks and other water birds.  The other day was no different as I found five Bufflehead – all males – almost immediately as I started walking along the railroad bed.  There were also two Common Loons on the main body of the lake – both... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Birding, Dog Friendly, Fall, Outdoor Recreation, Wildlife, winter
With hunting season in full swing many hikers decide to take a bit of time off. The time off is not only to partake in hunting, but in some cases many hikers are quite nervous about being in the woods.  Hunting season isn’t a reason to become a couch potato; you can still have to get out there and enjoy Mother Nature and do some serious hiking. This is a great time of year to be in the woods... [Read More]
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Author:Spencer Morrissey
Categories:camping, Equipment, Dog Friendly, Family fun, Fall, winter, Wildlife, Snowshoe, Outerwear, Outdoor Recreation, Hiking, Gear
Have you ever gone on a hike, arrive at the summit and then realize you don’t remember the trip up? Most of us will take a hike, walk, or journey of some kind and go as fast as we can to get to the ‘reward’, but how often do we stop during the journey to enjoy our surroundings? Probably not very often.Edward Kanze is a naturalist, author, columnist, wildlife photographer, licensed guide, and... [Read More]
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Author:Courtney Petkovsek-Powers
Categories:Wildlife, Wildlife, Heritage, Cultural

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Tuesday, October 9th, 2018
Submitted by guest writer, Elisabeth Marchbanks I must admit, fall is my favorite season in the Adirondacks. As the air becomes crisper and the leaves start to change their color, I can’t help but...
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A great time of year for a hike Fall is made for hiking. It possesses the perfect mix of pleasantries — leaf color, pleasant temperatures, and no bugs — that appeals to time outside. So when...
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