Archives for category: Wildlife

At this time of year, turtles may attempt to cross roads

Please be on the look out for these slow-moving animals as they cross roads to reach the area where they lay their eggs. If it is safe to do so, some people park their cars and then carry the turtle across the road (in the direction the turtle is heading). Local folks suggest keeping a small shovel or spade in the car which they use to move turtles. Never hold or drag a turtle by the tail as this may injure it. If you find an injured turtle, here is a list of New York DEP wildlife rehabilitators who handle turtles. (Note: Only licensed rehabilitators are permitted to work with wildlife).

a photo of a small wild turtle with a dark brown shell walking through leaves and grass in early summer in the Hudson Valley NY

A turtle heading across a road


A baby Box Turtle

Baby Box Turtle. Picture by Catskill Native Nursery

This item is from the Facebook page of The Catskill Native Nursery, a nursery that specializes in trees, shrubs and pants that are native to New York and the US.

“While out on his morning dog walk, Francis noticed this baby box turtle enjoying the damp woods. A box turtle may live as long as a hundred years, all within a few acres. They are on the menu of various creatures, but their leading cause of death is habit destruction and encountering vehicles such as ATV’s, 4×4 off-road driving, cars and lawn mowers. If you want to help box turtle populations you should encourage their habitat that consists of moist soil (swamps, marsh, moist grasslands or damp forest depressions) and open meadows where they like to breed. Instead of trying to turn our forest floors into tidy parks by tossing down grass seed and removing all downed branches we should encourage the growth of ferns, sedges, partridge berry, wintergreen and low growing shrubs like mountain laurel, huckleberry and blueberry. Meadows are always better than “golf courses”, if you are a part of nature’s web. Box turtles are omnivores and eat insects, mushrooms, berries, and grubs. One of their favorite treats is the fruit of mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum). This is an easy to grow, deer resistant, self-spreading plant we encourage people to cultivate in their larger shade gardens and woodland understory.”

“Please don’t move box turtles unless you are saving them from danger. They do not want to be a pet. They are designed to be free-range little tanks fueling up on fungi, berries and bugs – and for making more baby box turtles. If we respect their wild spirit and their habitat they will continue to share our world, and future generations of humans can enjoy discovering them on their walks in the woods.”

Learn more about the Catskill Native Nursery here.

Drive with care and be aware

As you probably know, this time of year, turtles cross roads to go to their breeding areas. Please be careful when driving. If possible (where safe to do so) stop and move the turtle to it’s destination on the other side of the road (the direction it is headed).

Thank you!

Every day is ‘Earth Day’ don’t you think?

A painted turtle walking on the side of the road

A painted turtle on the side of the road

A single white bell-shaped flower with yellow and purple stripes inside. The edges of the petals are ruffled. From the Southern Catalpa tree.

Southern Catalpa tree flower

In mid-June the Catalpa trees are in bloom and the lemon-vanilla fragrance is so pleasant on a hot day. Picture of a pinnacle of Southern Catalpa tree flowers which are white with pink stripes inside.

The flowers of the the Southern Catalpa  have stripes inside – landing strips for pollinating insects.

Many pinnacles of white flowers on a Southern Catalpa tree.

It is a common tree in the Hudson Valley, I often see them growing by the side of the road and in people’s gardens.

Mature Southern Catalpa tree covered in white flowers.

Southern Catalpa tree in bloom

The tree grows to about 60′ high.

Mature Southern Catalpa tree with massive drooping branches that almost touch the ground.

Mature tree with large branches

The branches on a mature tree are very thick (2′ or so wide) and curve, sometimes almost touching the ground.

A heart-shaped leaf from a Southern Catalpa tree.

Heat-shaped leaves

The leaves are large, up to 12″ long. A friend explained how these thick leathery leaves are difficult to rake in the fall.

Green and brown seed pods on a Southern Catalpa tree

Seed pods

Here are the green seed pods in July. The brown pods are from the previous year. The seed pods are about 15′ long.

Seed pods in winter

The seed pods remain on the trees during the winter

Many long brown seed pods hanging from the branches of the Southern Catalpa tree in winter, NY.

Seed pods hanging from the branches in winter

The Catalpa tree is also known as the ‘Cigar Tree’

Two seeds in the snow, fallen from a Southern Catalpa tree, winter in NY.

Seeds in the snow

Each seed pod is filled with hundreds of tiny seeds with fibrous ‘wings’ for dispersal by wind.

Two American Robins on the bare branches of trees in winter, NY

American Robins eating seeds

By winter, most of the seeds have disappeared, but some are still around and provide food for wildlife.

Whilst looking online for information about this tree, I discovered it is the host for the Catalpa Sphinx Moth

Brown colored Catalpa Sphinx Moth. Image by

Catalpa Sphinx Moth. Image by

According to online stories, the caterpillars make excellent bait for fish. Here’s a little more information about the caterpillar

I have not seen any caterpillars on the trees in my area (a result of pesticide use perhaps?)


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