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Hudson River Almanac July 13-20, 2004

OVERVIEW

Mid-summer brings chattering cicadas but diminishing birdsong - overall, our landscape seems quieter. Major fish migrations are at a lull, and many young-of-the-year are not yet overly conspicuous. Some heavy rain showers occurred this week, but in spite of that the salt front in the Hudson pushed slowly northward to HRM 68 near the mouth of the Wappingers Creek. The preceding weeks of little rain had left the ground dry and ready to soak up water, so not much of the precipitation ran off into the estuary.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK

7/16 - Eagle Nest, Dutchess County: In mid-afternoon a strong warm wind was whipping through the pines; a thunderstorm that would leave 0.4" of rain in an hour was on its way. In a reversal of roles, the two adult eagles were at the nest: Papa perched on the rim, Mama in the middle. Two hundred feet to the west in the sanctuary pine were the two immatures. I could hear only one of them - an incessant whining. I crept closer for a better look and was not surprised that it was the young male, complaining about something.
- Tom Lake

NATURAL HISTORY NOTES

7/13 - Town of Wappinger: In the aftermath of 0.90" of rain, a family of crows was flying around and vocalizing loudly. The newly fledged young were shadowing the adults, squawking, often trying to land on the same perch as the parents. The adults would fly to the canopy of a hardwood, and here would come the kids. There was no escaping them or their incessant chatter.
- Tom Lake

7/13 - Croton Bay, HRM 34: We were grateful for the 1.5 inches of rain overnight. The lawns were getting brown and the foliage wilting. Summer doldrums at the river this morning: I watched a black-crowned night heron fly past and then an adult killdeer being tailed by a young one.
- Christopher Letts

7/14 - Town of Wappinger, HRM 67: In a grassy field overlooking Wappinger Creek, six wild turkeys, five hens and a tom, were feeding. A coyote was sizing up his prospects, walking wide circles in the grass around the birds. Every few minutes the tom would look up and then resume feeding. With all that open space, the coyote would have little chance of catching one before they took flight. After a half hour of this stalemate, the coyote slowly eased away.
- Tom Lake

7/15 - Kowawese, HRM 59: Our eager young naturalists were seining as part of the program at The Museum of the Hudson Highlands' summer nature camp. We caught many shiners (spottails and others) as well as white perch (160 mm) and two newly moulted blue crabs.
- Ann Szigethy

7/15 - Cornwall, HRM 57: We are fortunate to have some young pied-billed grebes on Muskrat Pond here at Kenridge Farm. The mama grebe is carefully guarding her four youngsters (maybe a week or two old), but they are easy to spot as you approach the pond, a mile from our trailhead.
- Ann Szigethy

7/16 - Warrensburg, HRM 235: Queen Anne's lace and goldenrod were blooming; it will not be long before they do so in Newcomb, about 65 miles north.
- Ellen Rathbone

7/18 - Newcomb, HRM 302: Our baby bluebirds died (see July 12). All the recent rain is the probable cause. They were still alive two days ago, but today I found one dead on the lawn and when I opened the box, the other four were dead inside. I've removed the nest in hopes that the adults will try again, but my hopes are not high. I have not seen the parents lately. The roof of the box had pulled away from the back, leaving ¾" gap, and the drain holes in the bottom were not sufficient. They either drowned or died of hypothermia.
- Ellen Rathbone

7/19 - Fishkill, HRM 62: While a great spangled fritillary, a yellow-patch skipper and other unidentified skippers and honey bees busied themselves at the zinnias, two twelve-spotted dragonflies with their yellow lateral abdomen stripes would swoop about the area and then settle for awhile on the warm, sunny rock in the upland clearing.
- Ed Spaeth

7/20 - Newcomb, HRM 302: Rain, rain and more rain with plenty of thunder and lightning. The Hudson River is up; not flooding but still rising on the banks. This is turning into a real "mosquito summer."
- Ellen Rathbone

7/20 - Town of Wappinger, HRM 68: My golden retriever, Teddy, was getting anxious. The locusts were chorusing loudly in the black locust trees, but something else was arousing his interest. The grove of Norway maples were thick and though we could hear a rustle we could see nothing. He finally dragged me to a spot where I could point my binoculars up into the crown of the nearest tree. Fifty feet above us two young raccoons were peering down, their raccoon faces framed between the branches. One was on a branch above the other and its ringtail hanging down was too tempting a target to ignore. We watched them play for a while before they moved off through the trees.
- Tom Lake

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