River Talk


TRR photo by Sandy Long
Switch off your lights in honor of Earth Hour on March 30, beginning at 8:30 p.m. Plan an appropriate activity highlighting this year’s focus—the biodiversity of life on Earth. Pen a poem or write a letter to the mighty Delaware River or your favorite animal or plant species.  Afterwards, share it through social media or send it to your local newspaper for possible publication to raise awareness of the tremendous natural resources that sustain our lives here.
 

An hour for the Earth

In an effort to inspire people around the world to take action in support of the planet and the natural world, a grassroots movement known as Earth Hour was launched in 2007.


Photo provided by Scott Rando

This is a bear cub from one of last year’s den visits. When they first emerge from the den in April, they weigh from four to six pounds, but grow close to 100 pounds as a yearling. As the latter part of March approaches, there should be more activity visible from the PGC bear-cam.

The bears’ live debut

Okay, so the groundhog may have lied, or, at least, led us slightly astray regarding the end of winter. It seems that March came in like a lion with some moderate, ice-laden storms followed by cold days with lows in the single digits.


Japanese knotweed is one of the most prevalent invasive plants impacting the Upper Delaware River region. Its showy white flowers and bamboo-like stalks make this abundant invasive easy to recognize.

Invasives and climate change

Were you aware that Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has developed a plan addressing climate change in the commonwealth?


TRR photos by Scott Rando

Buffleheads arrive in the fall during the latter part of October. They can be seen on lakes until the water freezes. This species is a migrant; they head back to northern Canada in the middle of spring. Buffleheads are also diving ducks, but this species favors aquatic invertebrates and plant material.

Web-footed friends

Watching wildlife in the winter is a little more of a challenge than it is during the rest of the year. For one, there is the weather. You have to drive or hike to where you want to view wildlife, so let’s hope


TRR photos by Sandy Long

Red squirrels are approximately half the size of gray squirrels and sport reddish-brown fur with spiky ear tufts. This species is very feisty, energetic and territorial. They will fend off gray squirrels to protect food sources and dens.

Know your rodent

In the heart of winter, the landscape can seem especially dreary, brightened mainly by birds and the occasional white-tailed deer. But a glance around your backyard can clue you in to the antics of furry rodents that scurry about in search of sustenance to last through the season of snow and ice.


TRR photos by Scott Rando

The Great Backyard Bird Count commences

Are you looking for an excuse to get outdoors—or maybe not with the sub-zero temperatures experienced recently? Good news: If you can look out your window from that nice warm kitchen or living room and count the birds you see for at least 15 minutes, you can participate in the 22nd Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC).  


 TRR photos by Sandy Long

Beaver are semi-aquatic mammals that weigh between 30 to 60 pounds and range in length from 20 to 25 inches with flat, textured, paddle-shaped tails approximately 10 to 15 inches long. The tails serve as rudders when swimming, store fat in winter, provide balance and act as a prop when the animal is cutting down trees. Beaver also use their tails to warn potential predators away with a loud slap on the surface of the water.

Beaver behavior

Did you know the beaver is New York State’s official mammal, or that it is North America’s largest rodent? I recently encountered the beaver depicted here and had the opportunity to observe it harvesting twigs from along an icy shoreline, then engaging in grooming activities.


TRR photos by Scott Rando

This is one of the bald eagle nests along the Delaware River. In it were three young that are three to four weeks old. Two of them were visible when this image was captured last May. An average clutch for a bald eagle nest is two offspring, and records show that the majority of young produced from nests on the Delaware River survive past fledge from year to year.

The state of the eagles

The start of a new year usually means it’s time to move on from the past year’s local government activities and early January re-organizational meetings. Also, there’s been drama to keep up with over the partial federal government shutdown and the uncertain State of the Union address in Washington, D.C.


TRR photos by Scott Rando

In the mid-2000s, the National Park Service obtained funds to purchase and release galerucella beetles, pictured here. These leaf beetles are host-specific predators of purple loosestrife, an invasive plant that is displacing many native plant species in our region.

New York announces invasive species grants

It’s the middle of winter, and you’re probably not thinking now about  invasive species. Then again, it’s hard to forget clearing thickets of Japanese barberry or treating hemlocks for wooly adelgid, if you’ve ever had to do these tasks.

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