Outdoors


TRR photos by Sandy Long

The remains of a football-shaped bald-faced hornet nest ended up in my driveway recently. Its former residents don’t overwinter here, so a new nest is constructed every spring. According to the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, bald-faced hornets are not true hornets; they are yellow jackets. They help to reduce populations of unwanted insects and pollinate flowers when seeking nectar.

A world of wonders

The other day I came upon a wonderful thing in my driveway. It lay in a tousled clump and resembled a shaggy rag. Bending to retrieve it, I discovered a beautiful gift from the natural world—the slightly weathered remains of a bald-faced hornet nest that had broken free from a nearby tree.


TRR photos by Scott Rando

A south-bound female common merganser is winging its way toward the Rio Reservoir in this image. Common mergansers are the most widely seen mergansers in the region and are also plentiful on the Delaware River.

Ducks steal the show during the mid-winter eagle survey

January 10 was my designated day to perform my part of the New York State Mid-winter Eagle Survey. The target day for New York has usually coincided with the “fly day” (or days), when the aerial portion of the survey was flown.


File photo

Free introduction to snowshoeing

DINGMANS FERRY, PA — The Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC), 538 Emery Rd., will offer a free opportunity to learn the basics of snow shoes and enjoy a winter walk along the McDade Trail on Saturday, January 20 from 1 to 4 p.m. No experience is necessary; equipment will be provided.


TRR photos by Sandy Long

One bird you won’t find at your backyard feeder is a bald eagle. However, it is eagle watching season in the Upper Delaware River region, as this majestic raptor returns to ply the open waters of our rivers for its sustenance. Seize the opportunity to look for eagles in their habitat by signing up for the Delaware Highlands Conservancy’s Eagle Photo Workshop Bus Tour on February 3, during which I’ll be offering tips on photographing eagles in the context of this special place. The Conservancy has also announced a new juried photo contest, “Sharing Place: Eagles and Their Environs,” open to professional and amateur photographers. Visit https://delawarehighlands.org/photo-contest/ for details.

Birds and bomb cyclones

Now that we’ve added a new term to our vocabularies and weathered the wild winds and brutal temperatures of the past week and its “bomb cyclone,” it’s time to reflect on the awe-inspiring survival strategies of our backyard birds and the role we can play in their welfare.

Cabin time for fly fishermen

The recent polar vortex had its grip on the Upper Delaware River and the entire region. Most of our rivers are now iced in, and fly fishing is out of the question without distant travel. It will be a long time before we wade again and scan the Delaware’s pools for rising trout.


TRR photos by Scott Rando

A red-tailed hawk, one of the hawk species that can be seen all year in the region, is shown here flying next to a raven. Both birds did some maneuvering and talon displays before breaking off. It appeared that both birds did this in play.

Winter raptor watching

If asked about winter raptor watching, the first thing that would pop into mind is eagles. This region is one of the favorite wintering habitats for Canadian bald eagles in the Northeast, and that’s not counting the ever increasing number of resident bald eagles that stay in the area year-round.

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