Adirondacks

I just spent a few days in the northern Adirondack Mts. of upstate New York. I was with the family, so could spend only two nights in the forest. It is normal to see hardly any mammals in boreal forests in winter, especially if you don’t have time for proper snow tracking, but I hoped that having a thermal scope would make things a lot easier. Turned out, not much. Despite below-freezing temperatures and a few inches of snow on the ground, I ended up seeing more amphibians than mammals (not counting deer along suburban roads): there were frogs sleeping on the bottom of springs and mudpuppies in streams. Good locations:
1. Bloomingdale Bog hiking trail (trailhead at 44.3632N 74.1510W): very long and easy trail through a variety of good habitats; lots of snowshoe hare tracks and a few mink and fisher tracks. I walked only 3 km in and saw just one snowshoe hare which was across a non-frozen stream and too far to photograph.
2. Silverlake Bog trail (trailhead at 44.5123N 73.883W): a half-mile boardwalk across a bog, continuing as an upland trail. A few snowshoe hare tracks, and just before the end of the boardwalk I briefly saw a southern bog lemming. Watch for spruce grouse.
3. Owen Pond trail (trailhead at 44.3256N 73.911W): a short trail with small elevation gain at the beginning; had weasel tracks on the shore of the pond and lots of rodent tracks; the latter mostly looked like deer mice and southern red-backed voles, but one belonged to a larger rodent, almost certainly a rock vole.
4. High Falls Gorge (parking at 44.3475N 73.8768W), a short boardwalk that was closed for the winter but accessible. I saw shrew tracks with very long tailprints there, likely of a long-tailed shrew.
5. Peninsula Trails (trailhead at 44.2989N 73.9946W), a network of short trails in Lake Placid, had tracks of a marten and a mink (the latter in hemlock forest below Lake Placid Dam); I also briefly saw a northern flying squirrel there, also near the dam. Watch for boreal chickadees in mixed flocks.

6 Comments
  1. John Van Niel 2 years ago

    Did you locate the frogs with the thermal scope?

    • Author
      Vladimir Dinets 2 years ago

      Of course not. They were visible at the bottom of non-frozen ponds with a flashlight at night.

  2. Conuropsis 2 years ago

    Thanks for the info. I love it up there. Been to the Bloomingdale Bog a few times. Had Hawk Owl there. Didn’t know the mudpuppies were up in the Dacks.

    • Author
      VLADIMIR DINETS 2 years ago

      Wow, the closest place I’ve seen a hawk-owl was in Newfoundland.
      The mudpuppies were technically outside the Adirondacks, at 43.41912N 73.70901W.
      Any other tips for the area? It’s just 4 hours away, so even with two kids I might make it up there again in my lifetime :-/

  3. wildlife_watcher 10 months ago

    I’ve been to lake george in fall 2020, it is quite beautiful there in that season. Did you also see the mudpuppies at night with torch. I have put out traps overnight in other states hopping to see one but my understanding is they are kind of hard to trap (very low trap rate) and fishing them seems to be a bit of a crap shoot too. Your method described here sounds much more appealing.

    • Author
      Vladimir Dinets 10 months ago

      Yes, the mudpuppies were in the shallows. You need places with calm water and gravelly or sandy bottom to see them.

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