Monday, February 25, 2013

Garter snake makes early appearance

A Garter snake was observed basking in the sun in front of the Naturalist's cottage this afternoon. Notice the snow in the background. 
The stones on the shoveled walkway absorb the sun's rays and radiate heat that the snake is attracted to.  The south-facing orientation of the cottage also absorbs and radiates heat from the sun and further enhances the warmth of this location.
It's not uncommon to see snakes here each spring, but this is certainly the earliest date these cold-blooded critters have appeared.  It's the first time I've seen them basking next to the snow in the eight years I've lived in the cottage. 
I hope he/she retreats back under the porch before temps drop again tonight.  Cold-blooded critters like these rely on warm air temperatures to facilitate body functions such as muscle movement and digestion.  Without ample warmth, cold-blooded creatures will freeze and die. 
It would be a shame to lose a garter snake to the perils of cold weather. They are an important part of the natural balance of the lawn and garden in front of the cottage.  Let's hope this snake finds its way back into the insulated protection of the porch foundation!
-Adam Zorn, Naturalist

Friday, February 15, 2013

Sap is rising

The sugar maple taps are running well today. Clear skies, calm wind, and temps in the 40's are ideal for sap collection at this time of year. We have 45 gallons of sap and counting so far.
-Adam Zorn, Naturalist

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Winter wonderland morning

Last night's snowfall has created a beautifully picturesque snow scene across the Sanctuary. Hope you have a chance to enjoy winter's beauty where ever you are headed this morning across Westchester!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

New Beehive Arrives

Our observation beehive has arrived from Draper's Super Bee Apiaries today!  This beautiful observation hive will allow visitors to observe a live honeybee colony behind glass.

The hive will allow bees to travel in and out of the nature center. Observers can look forward to watching bees place pollen and nectar in the hive, see nurse bees care for young larvae, watch the queen laying eggs, and so much more.  The entire unit rotates a full 360 degrees on its pedestal, so nothing will go unseen!

Full installation of the hive and its resident bees is slated for early April.  I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek into one of our newest exhibits.  A grand opening celebration is scheduled for April 20, so mark your calendars!

-Adam Zorn, Naturalist

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Hurricane Nemo 2013

Nemo has come and gone and everyone here is doing well after the storm.  The critters are snuggled up in their enclosures and thankful the storm has not knocked out the power.  Here are some photos from around the property.

The parking lot is plowed and the trails are open today.  Take caution and remember to grab a trail map from the kiosk before heading out.  Let us know if you see any downed trees or other debris on the trail.

Enjoy the snow and hope to see you on the trails soon.

- Lisa Ricker / Naturalist
A scene from the Wildlife Management Area

A scene from the Wildlife Management Area

The perfect way to get around the trails this weekend!