Naturalist/Nature Watching Archives - Appalachian Mountain Club

Naturalist/Nature Watching

If your kids are like mine, they’re naturally observant and curious—which can make everything from a simple walk in the woods to a challenging mountain hike an opportunity for questions. Lots of questions. We polled AMC guides on the common queries they hear from kids on the trail. We’ll leave the answer to the most…

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  Now?” my nephew Kyle asks, sounding anxious. Peering into the water, I can just make out the pebble-strewn bottom down below. “Yep,” I reply. “Ready?” Without a word, he slips from his board and plunges into the clear, temperate Delaware River. Snorkel mask on, I follow him beneath the surface. And with that, we…

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It may not feel like beach weather to you, but piping plovers are already returning to their northern nesting grounds along the Atlantic coast. These tiny shorebirds usually reach southern New England by the end of March or early April and arrive in habitats farther south even sooner. In 1986, plovers were listed as threatened…

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Studying the movement of birds is challenging work. They’re fast, small, and can travel thousands of miles per year. Tracking devices are too large for many migratory species to carry, and that technology is also limited by cost, battery life, and antenna range. But movement biologists say their field is about to be revolutionized, thanks…

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Want to know if an upcoming storm will dump heavy, wet snow or soft powder perfect for skiing? You’ll probably need to check a meteorologist’s forecast. But to understand why the white stuff falls, and which atmospheric conditions create different kinds of snow, you can learn the basics yourself. Here’s a primer from Mike Carmon,…

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For millennia, birds have migrated lengthy distances, guided by the moon and stars. But as dark skies dwindle around the globe, scientists wonder how light pollution affects this natural phenomenon. One unlikely light source provided a unique research opportunity. For one night a year—September 11, in the midst of warblers’ and small passerines’ migration—two beams…

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Although chances are low you’ll see a North American bobcat while hiking, the elusive nocturnal predators are prowling the Northeast in increasing numbers. In fact, the bobcat population has grown so large in New Hampshire that officials considered allowing the animals to be trapped and hunted again. Public outcry stopped that plan in its tracks,…

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We started looking for a moose as soon as we arrived in the Maine Woods. Around each bend in the road, across every marsh or pond, we expected to see the gangly outline of the state’s most iconic mammal. So on our last evening, while walking a waterfront path below AMC’s newly rebuilt Medawisla Lodge…

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I’m going to find all of them!” my 5-year-old son, Gus, declares without missing a beat. We’re sitting around the kitchen table, as Gus and his sister, Mabel, age 7, ready their “acorns”: 22 wooden discs they’re painting with bright colors. My question to them: How many of these discs can you find a week…

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Moose roam more widely than usual beneath the colorful leaves of fall. It’s the period known as the rut, when male moose travel far and wide in search of a mate. So if you’re out leaf-peeping this season in New England, you’ve got a better than usual chance at spotting one. To help gauge your odds, here’s…

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