Posts Tagged ‘Riparian’

Birding in the Ashokan Watershed

Posted on: June 17th, 2020 by Irene Foster
Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)

Belted King­fisher (Megac­eryle alcyon)

 

Are you look­ing for a fun, safe activ­ity to try now that the weather is nicer and reopen­ing is ramping-up? If so, con­sider stream­side bird­ing in the Ashokan Water­shed. In the Ashokan Water­shed there are many oppor­tu­ni­ties to hang out near streams while you are pic­nick­ing, hik­ing, or just relax­ing.  While you are there, you can spot many types of wildlife, espe­cially birds. Also, you can look for birds while obey­ing social dis­tanc­ing recommendations.

Common Merganser (Mergus merganser)

Com­mon Mer­ganser (Mer­gus merganser)

 

Some com­mon bird species you are likely to encounter are the red-winged black­bird, belted king fisher, great blue heron, Canada geese, and sev­eral species of ducks such as mal­lards, wood ducks, and the com­mon mer­ganser.  In addi­tion to those com­mon aquatic birds, there are many song­birds that rely on the ripar­ian areas for their habi­tats.  The ripar­ian zone is the area along the sides of streams. If you are spend­ing time on the Eso­pus Creek, you might catch a glimpse of bald eagles, who work their way upstream from the reser­voir in search of food.

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)

 

To go bird­ing, you do not need to be an expert on ornithol­ogy (the study of birds) or have any fancy equip­ment. How­ever, if you want some help get­ting started and learn­ing more about bird­ing, there are many smart­phone apps that can help you. Bird­ing apps offer a wide vari­ety of fea­tures such as iden­ti­fy­ing birds, iden­ti­fy­ing bird songs, track­ing which bird species you find, or view­ing other bird sight­ings that have been logged near you.

A female and male pair of Mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos)

A female and male pair of Mal­lard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos)

 

If you are look­ing for more infor­ma­tion on iden­ti­fy­ing stream­side birds, check out the Cor­nell Lab of Ornithology.

Some more resources on bird­ing are the Young Bird­ers Net­work through the New York State Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion, the Audubon Guide to North Amer­i­can Birds, or this Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram Newslet­ter from 2014 that has more bird species to look for and sug­ges­tions of where to look for them.

If you would like to learn more about a com­mon water­shed and back­yard bird species, the Amer­i­can Robin, you can view Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Program’s new video on our YouTube chan­nel.

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

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National Invasive Species Awareness Week 2018 — Japanese Knotweed

Posted on: February 26th, 2018 by Samantha Kahl

Feb­ru­ary 26th marks the begin­ning of National Inva­sive Species Aware­ness Week! Through­out this week, until March 2nd, we will be explor­ing dif­fer­ent inva­sive species present within our water­shed. To start off this week, we must first ask our­selves, “What is an inva­sive species?”. An inva­sive species is a species that is non-native to an ecosys­tem and has the poten­tial to cause envi­ron­men­tal harm to an area. Inva­sive species often out-compete native species, giv­ing native species lit­tle chance for sur­vival; this includes both ter­res­trial and aquatic plants and animals.

Japanese Knotweed within the Watershed

Japan­ese Knotweed within the Watershed

The first inva­sive species we’ll look at is Japan­ese Knotweed. This mon­ster of a plant came to the U.S. as an orna­men­tal plant in the 1800’s from East­ern Asia. Knotweed is iden­ti­fied by its large heart-shaped leaves, hol­low bamboo-like stalks, and clus­ters of white or cream col­ored flow­ers. It is often found near streams or rivers and it can with­stand low-light, high tem­per­a­tures, drought, and poor soil qual­ity, mak­ing this inva­sive resilient to many dif­fer­ent types of envi­ron­ments. Knotweed can grow up to 15 feet tall, with deep rhi­zomes (roots) extend­ing into the ground, mak­ing it very dif­fi­cult and timely to eradicate.

Photo of Japanese Knotweed leaves & flowers courtesy of http://www.nyis.info

Photo of Japan­ese Knotweed leaves & flow­ers cour­tesy of http://www.nyis.info

Col­lab­o­ra­tion and coor­di­na­tion from as many peo­ple and orga­ni­za­tions as pos­si­ble is the best way to tackle Japan­ese Knotweed. In order to con­trol it, one must be dili­gent. The Catskill Regional Inva­sive Species Part­ner­ship (CRISP) rec­om­mends con­tin­u­ous man­ual removal of Knotweed approx­i­mately 2–3 times each year for at least 3 years, or until it is erad­i­cated. Accord­ing to New York Inva­sive Species Infor­ma­tion (NYIS), mow­ing or cut­ting of Japan­ese Knotweed will actu­ally spread the plant, rather than con­tain it. For those who would like to use her­bi­cides on large vol­umes of Knotweed, call your local CCE or Soil and Water Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict office to get more infor­ma­tion on chem­i­cal reg­u­la­tions and safety pre­cau­tions in your region.

 

Videos regard­ing Inva­sive Species in New York State:

Pre­vent the Spread of Inva­sive Species

Get to Know Inva­sive Plants

 

Fol­low us this week as we uncover more inva­sive species in our Ashokan Water­shed! Face­bookTwit­terInsta­gram

 

 

 

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