River Talk


TRR photos by Sandy Long

Guttation is the secretion of watery droplets from the tips of the leaves of plants that have vascular systems. The result can be quite beautiful to observe, as in the glistening pearls depicted on this strawberry plant.

Water wonders

When water is scarce, when wells run dry and rivers run low, we are reminded of the essential value of this irreplaceable natural resource.


TRR photos by Scott Rando

This is a close-up of a broad-winged hawk perched on a telephone line near my home during mid-August. This species breeds in our region, and many have been seen or heard during the summer months.

Early migrants of fall

Fall has just arrived, and with it comes the start of the fall migration for many birds.


Contributed photos

Volunteers constructed 20 porcupine cribs to be placed in Lake Wallenpaupack to improve fish habitat. As seen at the bottom left, cement blocks were added at the base of each structure to keep it submerged.

Porcupine cribs for fish

On September 12, volunteers assisted the Lake Wallenpaupack Watershed Management District (LWWMD) and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s (PFBC) Habitat Division in constructing and installing structures meant to improve fish habitat in Lake Wallenpaupack, the popular man-made Wayne and Pike County Pennsylvania lake built in the 1920s.


TRR photo by Scott Rando

The deer in this region are free from CWD, a disease which affects the brain and nervous system of deer and other cervids. An animal affected may appear to stagger or stand with legs splayed. An infected animal will eventually stop feeding and become emaciated. The disease is 100% fatal. At this time, prevention consists of keeping infected deer or parts out of un-infected areas. 

New regulations to control CWD in PA

With September in full swing, many people are preparing for the fall hunting season, and many deer hunters will be in the field for the start of archery season, which will start in less than a month’s time.


TRR photos by Sandy Long

In addition to the skull, a portion of the raccoon’s spine and tail, as well as part of its hip structure were also nearby. My hand lends perspective to the relative size of the bones. 

Mystery mammal

Wonders abound in the natural world and pique our interest in knowing more about the flora or fauna we encounter. I recently discovered an animal skull and various bones in the shallows of the Lackawaxen River and became intrigued to know which mammal had lost its life and returned to the flow of the water.


TRR photos by Scott Rando

A monarch butterfly is feeding on the nectar of a clover flower. Monarchs visit a variety of species of flowers in order to feed. Late in the summer is when the late-spring migrants are joined by newly emerged butterflies from eggs laid in mid to late July.

Monarch status for 2018

For most of the summer, people have been seen seeing monarch butterflies in almost every favorable habitat, whether it be a field, on public land, or your own garden. Also, many eggs have been observed being laid by female monarchs, as well as larvae, with their distinctive banding, as they feed on milkweed plants.


TRR photo by Krista Gromalski

The lumpy and velvety Inonotus dryadeus is a parasitic mushroom that causes root rot in oak trees in our region. It is often semi-circular or kidney-shaped, buff to yellowish in color and exudes drops of amber liquid from its margin when young.

Mad about mushrooms?

If you answered affirmatively to the question posed in the title of this column, you are not alone. Frankly, fungi are fascinating, not only for their ecological, medicinal and culinary properties, but also for the multitude of interesting forms in which they appear.


TRR photos by Scott Rando 

Female turkeys and their poults have a similar appearance; however there is still a significant size difference in August, which makes it easy to tell them apart. There may be more than one female turkey present; an individual brood will frequently join with another to give the flock more than one female to keep a watchful eye out for the combined broods.

PA Game Commission looks for help in turkey survey

The PA Game Commission (PGC) again is looking for public help through the month of August for a turkey sighting survey. This is a citizen-science project where the number of adult male and female, and poult (young) turkeys are counted.


TRR photos by Sandy Long

As of August 2018, the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System protects 12,754 miles of 209 rivers in 40 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico—less than one-quarter of one percent of the nation’s rivers. New York has approximately 51,790 miles of river, of which 73.4 miles are designated as wild and scenic—roughly 1/10th of 1% of the state’s river miles. Currently the only New York waterway protected under this system is the Upper Delaware River.

Two to celebrate

In October, two significant 50-year anniversaries will be celebrated: the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and the National Trails System Act.


TRR photos by Scott Rando

This hummingbird clearwing moth was found sharing nectar from a milkweed plant. This moth is fascinating to watch as it mimics a ruby-throated hummingbird, hovering near flowers and taking nectar with its long proboscis while in flight. Even its wing beat frequency is similar, with 85 Hz (cycles per second) for the moth vs. 60-80 Hz for the hummingbird.

The summer flight of butterflies

If you walk out the door during this time of year, the first insect you will likely notice is a butterfly or moth. They are easy to spot as they are typically brightly colored and larger than many flying insects. Even at night, you will run into multiple species of moths, as well as other flying insects that are attracted to artificial light.

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