Glacier Pools Preserve

………………….Walking Paths for Eastern Lycoming County

March 29, 2018
by Michael
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Earth Day

Sunday April 22 is Earth Day and the Linn Conservancy is organizing a walking tour of Glacier Pools Preserve starting at 1:00. We’ll take a look at early spring life in the pools, which should have many clusters of salamander and frog eggs from breeding over the next weeks. Expect to walk on unpaved trails up and down gradual hills for about one mile (or more if you like.)

March 5, 2018
by Michael
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Forest Improvement

We are starting a project to improve the value of the forested parts of the preserve. By “value” I mean as habitat and beauty, not timber revenue. The best trees will get a little more sunlight to grow better. The potential animal habitat trees will be preserved, and there will not be activity around the pools. The income from this project will be held by the Linn Conservancy to support future maintenance of the trails and meadows. A haul road has been cut across the Wagon Road Trail, which is still open. The crossing will be easier when the road gets gravel. It leads to a clearing which will let the loggers skid to waiting trucks. There is a beautiful view, so maybe someday this will be a place to picnic. In the process of this operation we can lay out a few long trails with help from their machines.

June 3, 2017
by Michael
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Early Laurel

The Laurel bloom is beginning and it looks like it’s a winner of a season. Many bushes are loaded with buds and some are in bloom. I’m so lucky to be in a position to visit daily and watch the progression through the woods and in various lights. Please enjoy it as you can. Here’s a shot taken yesterday.

May 13, 2017
by Michael
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Azalea and Ladyslippers

The colony of ladyslippers is entering bloom, as is the single wild native azalea I protected last year.   You can see them both by climbing the hill to the “throne”,  and entering the woods at the ShortCut trail.  The ladyslippers are on the right and left about 200 feet in (watch that you don’t step on the one in the trail, and don’t wander off into the patch or you’ll step on another.)  Then continue on ShortCut to ‘mander Meander and turn right.  The azalea is on the right with a wire fence and a bit of yellow tape.  If you get to the big downhill, you went too far.

The orchid colony is shrinking, and I’m tempted to throw a little granular fertilizer on it after the bloom.  Does anyone have a better idea?

April 6, 2017
by Michael
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Peepers and the progression of spring

Peter and I went out the night before last and he taught me how to find peepers:  just look on low branches, logs, and plants for little frogs with close-set eyes.  It’s quite hard to locate them from the sound of their singing.  Peepers are less shy than salamanders, and even tolerated Peter getting within a few inches to snap this picture.  We both remarked on how few salamander egg clusters there are this year.  Our suspicion is that the weird weather has delayed the arrival of females to pick up the spermatophores left last week by their males.  In support of that theory, last night I found a nice cluster of fresh eggs (and one maybe older one.)  They were in a very small pool in the woods that I rarely visit.  I also put a nice new article on vernal pools and salamanders by Peter (check the Vernal Pools page under the tab for Land, Plants, and Animals page) and a map of all our pools with numbers in the same place, so when we talk of them we’ll know what we mean. (Eggs are in pool #9.)

March 31, 2017
by Michael
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Salamander Success

Well, after a false spring, a second winter, and another spring we finally got it right and on Wednesday night got to see lots of males, their spermatophores, and hoards of wood frog males swimming around hoping for mates.  Then Thursday night we struck the fairy shrimp jackpot!  See the red video as they came towards that color, and the white one taken right afterwards.  These 3/4″ long crustaceans live their entire life cycle over several weeks, then wait as eggs for conditions they ‘like’.  They are not seen often, and this was my first sighting.  Yesterday and todays rain should bring the female spotted salamanders into the pools to lay their eggs, and for the next several weeks these will be easy to see and watch as embryos develop.  Last year I even saw  juveniles slither out into the water from egg masses.

March 7, 2017
by Michael
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Salamander migration not likely tonight.

The pools refroze over the weekend and are still almost completely locked in. Tomorrow is a better bet, though still several days earlier than last year. I’ll be at the kiosk tonight in case someone comes, but advise tomorrow. And if they don’t move tomorrow, then later in the week or even the following week. It depends on the weather, the soil temp, the calendar, and their inner physiologic drives.