Nature

On the rocks: Catskill clams

On the rocks: Catskill clams

Do clams have consciousness? Did our clams experience fear? Did they have any awareness of what had befallen them? Did they actually decide what to do? We really don’t know. We suspect that they may well have been equipped with some sort of automatic response system that allowed them to deal with what should have been a scary situation. We guess that we will never know for sure.

Snappers on the move

Snappers on the move

There’s a survival reason for their testy tempers: The plastron or underside shell of a snapping turtle doesn’t cover all of its abdomen, leaving plenty of room around the legs for swimming movements. There are thus soft parts exposed that make the animal vulnerable to any large predator that managed to grab onto it.

Make way for the red eft

Make way for the red eft

Human handling damages their skin’s protective mucus covering, leaving the animal exposed to attack by bacteria and other pathogens. That skin also exudes a toxin that deters predators, which partially explains the eft’s casual aplomb in taking a public stroll.

Everything you need to know about the timber rattlesnake

Everything you need to know about the timber rattlesnake

Timber Rattlers can be found in the mountainous areas of the Hudson Valley, including the Catskills and Shawangunks. There have been no recent recorded cases in New York State of human fatalities from a bite from a timber rattler, but symptoms may be severe, including nausea, vomiting, paralysis and tissue damage, and an allergic reaction can certainly be life-threatening. A dog twice bitten in Minnewaska State Park in 2014 succumbed to the venom.

A visit to Split Rock

A visit to Split Rock

Located at the site of the former Enderly family sawmill, down along the almost painfully picturesque Clove Road, Split Rock has long been one of the Shawangunks’ most popular and even iconic swimming holes – if indeed it can be called a hole. It’s really more of a split. In a rock. It is, you see, fiercely accurate in its name, if unpoetic.

Spotted lanternfly: New York’s newest insect invasion

Spotted lanternfly: New York’s newest insect invasion

While spotted lanternflies like tree of heaven best, they also like to eat almost everything else. They are known to feed on the sap of more than 70 plant species. Fruit trees and grapevines are being especially hard-hit in Pennsylvania. Hops are also a favored host, as are nut trees. So this creature’s imminent arrival in the Hudson Valley, with its agricultural economy, is cause for serious concern.

More satellites than stars

More satellites than stars

Elon Musk’s SpaceX company, along with a few other companies, are planning to put 12,000 new satellites into low Earth orbit over the next few years. Unlike our existing communications satellites that are parked in geostationary orbits all the way up at 22,300 miles and are utterly invisible, these will definitely appear in the sky.

Join BioBlitz in Woodstock

Join BioBlitz in Woodstock

Citizen scientists of all ages (no special training or experience necessary) will be teamed with scientists and expert naturalists to study the wildlife, plants and biodiversity at the Catskill Center’s Thorn Preserve.