Spring

Spring

Birding By BoatOur birding trip had already been successful when the group I was leading turned its attention to the La Chute River for a canoe trip into Ti Marsh. In fact, we had done so well that we were running late and we had difficulty pulling ourselves away from the birds we were enjoying — although that is the usual state of affairs for such adventures. We even debated skipping the paddle altogether to keep birding from the road instead....
Whether you're dreaming of reeling in The Big One or want your child to get excited about their first fish, the Lake Champlain region is a great place for all those angler delights.From big lake to fast rivers to little ponds, we've got it all. Here's some tips to make sure that fishing trip will be full of memories.The big oneWe are thrilled to announce that our own Lake Champlain is not only a big lake, it is the home of big catches, too. Last...
It's National Trail Day Folks!Head to the Lake Champlain Region for a ChallengeBy Guest Blogger: Michael MartineauHiking in the Adirondacks is not merely an activity for many, it's a lifestyle. Those who embrace this lifestyle are out on the trails as much as possible. They will repeat trails and mountains so many times they know if a certain tree has lost a branch, or a rock was washed away, or if a trail blaze has fallen.They become an...
In the charming hamlet of Port Henry, a new establishment has opened to fill the needs of visitors coming to enjoy the Adirondacks.If you are ready to stop for the night, the Village Inn offers immaculate lodging that lands squarely between a hotel and a bed and breakfast. If you just need a bite to eat, then the Red Brick Café will fix you up with a tasty panini and the best espresso around.Travelers can now better plan their journey knowing...
First Paddle of the Season!While we are firmly paddling through warm weather now, it wasn't so long ago that we loaded our canoe for the first ride of the year. Here's a little recap of another great day on the Adirondack Coast.Wren and I met up with a friend, and after enjoying some birding on dry land, we set out on Scomotion (Dead) Creek just south of Cumberland Head. The put-in is accessed from a small parking lot for a doctor’s office and...
 Recently my wife and I took a little spring outing. The morning sky was clear and the sun shown warm as we started out. Opening the car door, our two enthusiastic companions and intrepid explorers, Cappy and Waggs, excitedly jumped in and we embarked. We have been exploring our local CATS (Champlain Area Trails), starting with a lovely hike up Coot Hill/Big Hollow last fall. We decided Crowfoot Pond would be a more challenging follow-up -...
Spring is a great time to hike. For everything there is a season, and spring hiking is about the contradictions.There are brisk winds, but we never get too hot. The weather can turn on a dime, but that means indirect lighting for stunning photos. It might rain, but it is also peak waterfall season.Here's some suggestions for enjoyable spring hikes.Quick & easyIf you are thrilled by roaring waters, the Lee Park Trail is a fine pick for even...
A Beautiful DayWith the shifting weather patterns of spring comes a changing diversity of birds — seemingly different every day. In an effort to get lucky and find species of note moving into or through the region, I have been outside as often as I can – mostly walking Wren near our home. But when the forecast looked as splendid as it did for a late-April day, it was time for a trip further afield.Species of NoteWhile many locations came to mind...
Feature photo: Early morning trout stocking- courtesy of Chris Barber  Thousands of the beautiful trout that enjoy life in our streams, creeks, ponds, and lakes spent their youth at the Essex County Fish Hatchery. Every year this hatchery acquires approximately 77,000 rainbow trout eggs, 75,000 brown trout eggs, and 70-77,000 brook trout eggs from huge US Fish and Wildlife suppliers located across the country.Not all of the eggs make...
Birding my way around the lakeWhile our recent late-season storms have made the North Country look like winter again – as it should look at this time of year, in this climate – spring continues to press upon the landscape and the birds know it. With that in mind, Wren and I took the chance to bird our way back from Vermont the other day. Birding has been great in the Lake Champlain Region all winter, but I was curious to see what else was...
Spring WeatherWith spring pushing winter out faster than many of us would like, it is a good time to explore Ausable Marsh Wildlife Management Area. Wren and I had a chance to do so the other day – she loves to play in the sand at the point during the winter.We started by checking out a few close ducks – Hooded Mergansers and Mallards – along the edge of the marsh along the campground road on our way to the point, watching a male Northern...
Technically we may still be in winter, but we're beginning to think spring!Late February’s mild temperatures receded snowbanks and brought in the robins and bluebirds. Seed and plant catalogs have been filling the mailbox for a few weeks now. As I write, I feel the strong heat of the sun pouring through the window. I look out to what’s left of my flower garden; now brown and bedraggled. I have a yearning to get growing. Regional gardeners...
Top Three Quick HikesGuest blogger: Gail TestaBlueberry Hill, Elizabethtown, NYMy children grew up in the Adirondack Mountains and my youngest son was only about four or five years old when he began walking with us as we hiked. As he grew he joined us on more difficult hikes, and as he got even older, he enjoyed climbing the larger mountains on his own. He no longer lives in the area, but he still loves the mountains and returns often to hike....
Birding between the raindropsAfter our successful trip to the Four Brothers Islands the other day I looked at the sky, and at the time, and debated the possibilities. Rain was already starting and it was forecast to get worse throughout the day, but it was currently light and intermittent and I had already made the trip to the valley, so I decided to bird until the rain sent me home. Since I was in Willsboro I headed north and drove along...
Submitted by guest blogger: Gail TestaWhy would anyone want to live anyplace else?I have been riding a bicycle for as long as I can remember.According to my family, I first got on a bike at age 4 and just took off. I grew up on a small farm in eastern Pennsylvania, so my bike was my transportation to visit my friends when I was young, and to go to the movies or my babysitting jobs as I got older. When I was a young stay-at-home mom in a one-car...
Living on the Adirondack Coast of the Lake Champlain Region has its distinct benefits especially if you are a fan of two-wheeled activities. The same roads that welcome tons of human-powered bikes each year are also great for touring on motorbikes. I am a fan of two-wheeled activities, and since I DO live here, I’ll impart directions for visitors to take a tour along the Adirondack Coast from Ticonderoga to Keeseville.  (This is one of...
Another spring trip to the Adirondack Coast - or - How I blew off work to go birdingWork to do, but birds to seeA friend of mine called me a few days ago to ask about the ducks that have been congregating near Crown Point for weeks. He was interested in heading there to see them and to take some photos, and as we chatted he began to tempt me for another run to the Adirondack Coast to find them. I really needed to get writing work done –...
A follow-up tripAfter my successful trip last weekend to the Champlain Valley, I wanted to follow-up to see what I could find as the migration continued to push birds along the lake. While the ducks at Crown Point were once again my main target, I wanted to see what else was around. I started my day at the Westport boat launch like usual. I scanned the water and found a string of Common Loons on their way to northern lakes, as well as a few...
An afternoon in the ValleyI took an afternoon this weekend and headed to the Lake Champlain Region with Wren to see what we could find. There have been a variety of birds arriving in the region and a friend of mine found a Tufted Duck (likely the same bird that was at the Champlain Bridge this winter) in Port Henry a few days earlier. I started in Westport like I often do and found the lake scattered with a few ducks, migrating Common Loons...
Late last week I ventured into the most picturesque valley you can imagine. This valley, extending from Wadhams into Essex, glides along the banks of the Boquet River flanked by the gorgeous Adirondacks. Vistas revealed quaint farm buildings surrounded by scenic agricultural land and pastures dotted with a variety of farm animals. I was on my way to the Echo Farm to connect with Dillon Klepetar of Farmstead Catering to learn about his...
It’s that time of year when those of us who like to think of ourselves as gardeners are itching to dig in the dirt. Though weeks from actually being able to do that, we daydream in anticipation, begin a little planning, and make our shopping lists. Now that most snow cover has left, the sun is a little stronger and days are a bit longer, I wander among my flower beds scrutinizing for signs of life and wondering what might return this season. For...
Spring Break on the Adirondack CoastWhen most folks think of taking a spring break trip, they often picture warm, sunny places with their toes snuggled deep into the sand. I’ve taken my share of spring trips to such places – landing me in the likes of Florida, Mississippi, and Arizona. But I don’t travel to sit on the beach, go shopping, or lay around the pool. I journey to such places to explore and go birding. So when I go to the beach, I’m...
It’s a chasm. It’s right there in the name, "Ausable Chasm." I’ve seen chasms before in other parts of the country, and I’ve toured chasms. They’re usually pretty cool but more or less the same. I’ve driven by this particular one on a number of occasions and have always been impressed with the view of Rainbow Falls from the bridge. But, until last week, I now shamefully admit I had never actually stopped at Ausable Chasm. I will now also eat a...
2015 TOP 3 BLOGS IN REVIEW We scoured our blogs for the most popular, most informative, and just downright oddest pieces from the past year. In case you missed them on the first go-round, here are our top 3 picks from Lake Champlain's Adirondack Coast.#3. Hidden Historical TreasureIn the 1920s a little one-room log cabin was discovered sitting on the ridge on Willsboro Point. It is called the Adsit Cabin and some suspect it may be...
A Chance to ExploreWren and I were exploring the Adirondack Coast and Ticonderoga Area this past week and as part of our adventure we paddled Ticonderoga Marsh. Our trip started off well as a Merlin raced above us as we put-in at the Town of Ticonderoga Recreation Park. We nosed our bow quietly down the La Chute River waving to a few fishermen, who, if we can believe their fish stories, told us they were having good success.Birding as I...
Another ATBI!This year the Adirondack All-Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI) took place in the Essex and Willsboro area of the Champlain Valley and I again helped with it. ATBIs, or Bioblitzes as they are often called, are conducted by naturalists and citizen scientists to help survey and document the diversity of the natural world around us. They are also events where naturalists from different disciplines can meet and learn from one another....
It’s just like riding a bike.  Which is to say that it is not like running or skiing. Or sitting at a desk.If there's one thing I’ve learned over the years, it is that no matter how many miles I’ve run or cross-country skied over the winter, switching to road cycling in the spring offers a few challenges. Sure, it seems like it would be an easy transition from a mix of running and sitting at a desk for too many hours a day, to moving your...
Time for Another Trip to the ValleyWith spring pressing in on all sides, I had been itching to get to the Champlain Valley again to catch migrant and arriving birds while I could. When I found out that a Pink-footed Goose – a European rarity – had been found not far from the Champlain Bridge in Vermont, I contacted a friend to see if he wanted to go look for it. I had seen a Pink-footed in New Jersey in January and this could have been the same...
Of Melting Snow and Frozen IceThe first changes which come with spring are always exciting. I had to meet someone in Plattsburgh this week and took advantage of the trip and the beautiful spring weather to look for birds in the Champlain Valley. The ground was almost devoid of snow across the valley as the warmer temps (when compared to the center of the park) have melted off most of what was on the ground. They still have a long way to go in de...
Here in the Adirondacks our mailboxes are beginning to bulge with daily arrivals of seed and plant catalogs. If we have yet to begin thinking about gardening, these daily arrivals ignite our thoughts of growing flowers, vegetables and fruits. Of course these seed purveyors are well aware it would require a jackhammer to turn any soil in our region right now, but they fully understand the whole process.I love receiving these wish-books. As I gaze...
Putting in on the LaChute RiverWren and I completed a camping trip this past October with a paddle into Ticonderoga Marsh, a beautiful stretch of cattails and mucky edges formed where the LaChute River flows into Lake Champlain. There are two chief ways to access the marsh. The first is to put in at the boat launch near the Ticonderoga Ferry and head south. The second is to use the small boat launch at the Town of Ticonderoga Recreational Park...
Lake Champlain Adirondack Coast BikingThe term “coast” as applied to a stretch of land elicits a certain image in your mind, right? You’d think that a region along a “coast” would consist of a largely flat, waterfront landscape.Well, the Adirondack Coast IS, indeed comprised in part of rolling farmlands along the western shore of Lake Champlain. But it is also the eastern edge of the Adirondacks, after all, so there’s bound to be a hill or two....
Spring Brings Wildflowers on The Grand HikeYesterday I hiked fourteen miles, beginning just up the hill from home. Thanks to the Champlain Area Trails I was able to hike from the Westport Hotel and Tavern to the Essex Inn on a series of connected sections of easy roadways and very, very pretty trails. For the Champlain Valley this is a new feat and the successful completion of a goal set several years ago by local trailbuilders.I was joined on...
            Over the past couple years I’ve occasionally seen a Red Fox in my neighborhood.  I first noted fox scats on the rocks which border my steps – something which caught Wren’s attention as well.  Sometimes when something out of the ordinary has visited the yard I can tell by how excited Wren is when I let her out first thing in the morning.  I finally had my first...