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Wildlife

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Winter Specialties A few weeks ago, the Saranac Lake Christmas Bird Count (CBC) was held around the New Year as it always is. And so Wren, my dog, and I did our part covering a segment of the count area, hiking through the winter snow, and counting birds as we went. One of the hopes of the CBC was to find the “winter finches” — those sought-after species which are generally more common at... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Birding, Fall, Hiking, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation, Wildlife, Winter
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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
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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 binoculars... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Birding, Hiking, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation, spring, Wildlife, Winter
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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... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Cross Country Skiing, Dog friendly, Family Fun, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation, Skiing, Wildlife, Winter
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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. [img:rs54863-044a3260lpr.jpg] Colors and Birds Wren led us up the trail, through a golden beech forest on the... [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
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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. [img:... [Read More]
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Author:Spencer Morrissey
Categories:Birding, Fall, Family Fun, foliage, Paddling, Wildlife
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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 April... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Birding, Dog friendly, Family Fun, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation, spring, Wildlife, Winter
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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
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A Regular Trip in WinterWith snow falling almost every day, it was only a matter of time before Wren and I set out to explore the cross country ski trails off Fish Hatchery Road in Lake Clear. It is a fun network of trails and there always seems to be more snow there than there is in town. The trails are also great because they can be skied as a challenging backcountry experience, or skiers can... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Natural History, Cross Country Skiing, Winter, Fall, Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation, Dog friendly
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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
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Showing the Cousins the RopesMy niece Rebecca had hiked Baker Mountain in Saranac Lake with me last summer when she came up to visit for the first time, and so this year she was excited to show Baker and its view off to her cousins Tyler and Emily who joined her to visit me this year. It had been a warm, summer day when we set off late in the afternoon up the trail. The trailhead appeared busy at... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Dog friendly, Fall, Family Fun, Hiking, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation, Saranac Lake 6er, spring, Summer, Wildlife
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Leading a Trip for the GABCI once again led a birding trip into Madawaska for the Great Adirondack Birding Celebration in Paul Smith’s last weekend. Madawaska is one of my favorite places to explore, and I’m always happy for an excuse to do so. Our group initially carpooled along Blue Mountain Road – a route that always involves many stops since it is such a productive place to bird. Soon after... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Wildlife, Summer, spring, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Hiking, Family Fun, Birding
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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
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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
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To Everything There is a SeasonTransitions are always times of uncertainty. A big move. A new job. Starting at a new school. So it can be with the changes of the seasons. As winter ends and spring begins, we muddle through a time of year when the weather can be warm and bright one day and the next day see rain, snow, or sleet. This variation from warm spring days to frigid, arctic conditions when... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Birding, Cross Country Skiing, Dog friendly, Family Fun, Hiking, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation, Paddling, spring, Wildlife, Winter
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Heading to Scarface It 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... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Hiking, Saranac Lake 6er, Snowshoeing, Wildlife, Winter
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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
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Roadside GemsPaddling the Saranac Lake RegionThe Saranac Lake Region is a mecca of paddling opportunities for all skill levels and rewarding destinations. Questions I often receive are in regards to, where to go. But more deeply, places with easy access, and for new paddlers. Again, not narrowing it down too much, since Saranac Lake has many destinations that are road side, I often think of three... [Read More]
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Author:Spencer Morrissey
Categories:Birding, Family Fun, Outdoor Recreation, Paddling, Wildflowers, Wildlife
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5 Overlooked Destinations for Hiking, Paddling, and/or Trail Running1. Floodwood Mountain[img:floodwood.jpg]Getting 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 –... [Read More]
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Author:Spencer Morrissey
Categories:Wildlife, Trail Running, Paddling, Outdoor Recreation, Hiking, Family Fun, Birding
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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
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How I don’t get lost in the woodsI had a great day snowshoeing at the Paul Smiths Visitor Interpretive Center. It combines so many Adirondack passions into one place; wilderness, the arts, and learning. While it seems a world away, it’s so close to Saranac Lake.I set out because it was a “bluebird day,” with blue sky above and white ground below. The VIC has wonderful hiking paths in summer, and... [Read More]
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Author:Pamela Merritt
Categories:Winter, Wildlife, Snowshoeing, Outdoor Recreation, Family Fun, Dog friendly
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            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
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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,... [Read More]
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Author:Courtney Petkovsek-Powers
Categories:Wildlife, Heritage, Cultural

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