Archive for the ‘Wildlife’ Category

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30 Jul 14

Back into the Wild! ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

Living on Long Island we are so privleged to see so much wildlife around us on land, and in the sea.  Being surrounded by water offers a huge variety of marine life to see, if you take the time to look!  This past Saturday, in Hampton Bays, the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation held a sea turtle release at Ponoquogue Beach.  What a joy to be able to see this juvenile Kemps Ridley Sea Turtle, who was a cold stun rescue from October 2013, be released back into the ocean. Kemps Ridley sea turtle’s are the most endangered species of sea turtles and the smallest – weighing 80 to 100lbs compared to other, much larger sea turtles.

The turtle named Estonia, was found on the beach in Long Beach – she was a cold stun rescue.  A turtle that is cold stunned is a result of the water temperature rapidily decreasing which can cause the turtle to stop feeding, heart rate to slow and float on top of the water.  Estonia is one of many turtles that the Riverhead Foundation cares for due to being cold stunned and she was rehabilated at their facility since she was found.  I asked one of the volunteers why they were just releasing her now, they informed me they have to wait until the water temperature is warm enough.

There was easily over 150 people there (on both sides) waiting to see the release.  I don’t know who was more excited, the humans or Estonia as they walked her past all the onlookers, as soon as they went by the ocean she was practically jumping out of the turtle carrier!  Her flippers were going and you could tell she was ready to go back home.

Estonia flapped her flippers the entire way she was being held, kind of like when you hold a dog above water and they do a doggie paddle in the air.  It was adorable!

Off she goes! She went very quickly into they ocean once they place her on the sand.

The device that is glued to her shell is a tracking device, and as she travels in the ocean the Riverhead Foundation has an area of their website where you can see her travels by tracking her.  As she grows, the device may fall off as her shell gets bigger, remember she’s a young turtle.

For more information on all the fantastic programs that the Riverhead Foundation has, to make a donation and to learn more about what they do, visit their website!

Good luck Estonia!

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04 Apr 14

Wildlife-Long Island, Pictures ...

by Nancy E. Hassel, (All photo’s are property of and taken by me!)

Wildlife on Long Island – it’s here, and not to hard to find, if you stop and pay attention.  I often post photo’s of wildlife on my Facebook page and much of the reaction is – where do you go to take that picture?  Is that on Long Island?  I never see anything like that.  We get caught up in our every day hustle and bustle of life, but if you are not stopping to look and appreciate the wildlife around you, you are seriously missing out.

Here are some pictures from the past 6-months or so in various locations around Long Island:

This red fox was on the boardwalk at the beach – but you may have noticed there seem to be Fox’s running around everywhere on the South Shore of LI in the last year or so.

Snowy Owl – not native to Long Island, but we had them all over the south shore beaches this winter – what a treat to see in person.

White Tailed Deer – Love seeing deer on LI – say what you want but they are to be treasured!

White Breasted-Nuthatch – common in your own backyard – but this guy was at a wildlife sanctuary on the East End.

This rabbit was actually pretty big for what I normally see – guessing he has plenty of food supply around.

Long Tailed Duck in flight over Sag Harbor waters.

Seal swimming in the waters off of Westhampton Beach.

Ok so this guy I photographed last spring!

Cardinal – one of about 30 nearby at wildlife sanctuary on the east end of LI.

This turtle was spying on me while I was taking pictures…

Red-tailed Hawk circling over Gardiners Park in Bay Shore – another good reason to keep your dogs leashed!

Ok, I know this is gross, but it is nature or wildlife on LI.  We came across this checkered Garter Snake last spring around this time of year, while out walking our dogs, my friend jumped a few feet in the air when we saw it! At first I thought it was a snake with front legs, (it was early in the morning people!), then I realized it was eating that toad…poor little guy was blinking and trying to get away.  And that was a decent size snake for LI – usually you see the little Garter snakes – but this was a first for me, the snake and him eating right in the middle of the trail. Yuck and cool at the same time.  (Still feel bad for the toad, but that is nature).

This is just a sampling of pictures of the wildlife around you here on Long Island – I dare you to get out there and slow down, and look around!  You might even spot some bald eagles too!

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05 Jan 13

LI’s Winter Wildlife Outings ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

What to do on a beautiful sunny, yet cold winter weekend day on LI? Forget the malls, the movies or just staying home and veggin’ out, head out to the wilderness the Long Island has to offer! I know what your thinking, some of you, what wilderness? Well there is a ton of wildlife to see on Long Island, weather you want to take a hike in the woods or head out to the beach you won’t be disappointed. One of the best, and one of my favorite things to do is to head to the beach to see the wildlife in the sea – you got it, the adorable harbor seals! If you are living under a rock and didn’t yet know there are a lot of places to to view these beautiful graceful creatures in LI waters. Even you reading this in Queens & Nassau County, there are places to see them there too.

You can see seals on a guided walk given by a few different organizations, or you can head out and see if you can see them on your own. Recently (today if your reading this at post date) I took my cousin and we headed to Cupsogue Beach in Westhampton Beach to see if we could spot any harbor seals, and boy were we in luck! (Cupsogue by the way – was one of the beaches that was completely breached by hurricane Sandy – but they have already dredged and filled in the breach – we were literally standing on it today in amazement that was covered in water not too long ago).

Ok back to the adorable, and somewhat dog-like seals. We were in luck today because the seals were not out on the sand bar sunning themselves, (and would just look like blobs for lack of a better term out in the bay), but instead they were in the water and seemed to us to be fishing for lunch – it was lunch time after all when we were there. They looked like they were having a great time, and popping out of the water and looking at us, looking at them. It was quite comical – almost as if they were looking at us like, “what are you looking at?” or “Are you looking at me?” It is really magical to see these creatures of the sea and land right before us.

I have seen a seal while kayaking in the Peconic Bay a few summers ago with my niece we couldn’t believe our eyes, it got pretty close to us and was so freaking cute! I have kayaked in that bay for 6 consecutive summers, and that was the only time we saw a seal there, not to say they are not there – they can swim pretty fast – but it was unusual for that body of water.

If you are looking for an educational seal walk/hike or want your kids or yourselves to learn about the seals – I would recommend the CRESLI or Montauk Point State Park walks. You will have a guided tour and learn a lot.  I have done both in the past. Today was just a great, and oddly warmer at the beach then the mainland, full of seals frolicking in the water, some other onlookers and just a great way to see one of LI’s best wildlife super stars. And if you’re hungry after your walk along Cupsogue head into Westhampton Beach Village and there are cute cafe’s to get your lunch (that you don’t have to swim for), and lovely shops too.

So what kind of seals are there in our waters? Mainly, Harbor Seals are the species that frequent our waters.  According to the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation or the DEC if you will, harbor seals are the most abundant; their average dive time is 3 minutes – which seemed to be very accurate today – but can dive for up top 30 minutes; they have large eyes, acute hearing – which made sense because every time we turned around today looking at Hurricane Sandy’s erosion – the seals seemed to pop up and be looking at us, hysterical! They also have long whiskers which are sensitive and help them hunt prey. While they have no tears, they have a mucus that washes over their eyes while under water to help protect their eyes from the salt water and when they are land it gives them a teary eyed appearance. (Who knew?)

Bundle up when you go, dress in layers, bring a good camera if you have it and a zoom lens to get the best photo’s and/or a pair of binoculars.  Be patient and watch for them and they will more than likely delight you with their playful show. See below for additional pictures. Enjoy!

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28 Sep 11

Howling in Hauppauge! ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

When you think of Long Island, the first animal that comes to mind is definitely not a Wolf, unless of course you are Teresa DeMaio the Founder and President of Running with the Wolves, Inc. (RWTW).  RWTW will be hosting the 8th Annual Long Island Wolf Expo this Sunday, October 2nd at the Sheraton in Hauppauge from 10am to 4:30pm.

Teresa founded RWTW over 10 years ago, which is a wildlife educational organization that teaches workshops about wolves and other wildlife.  Teresa started the annual wolf expo to raise funds for the Loki Clan Wolf Refuge Center in New Hampshire.  Loki is a place where rescued wolves and wolf dogs can live out their lives in the setting they require.  “I supported them via personal donations and then I thought it would be a great idea to have a Wolf Expo, so I could be able to have much better funding to send to them.  Our 1st Wolf Expo was so successful we continued to away to lend a hand to Loki Clan Wolf Refuge and other wolf sanctuaries we support,” said Teresa.

The Wolf Expo is about wolves, but Teresa has partnered with other wildlife rescue organizations and there will be many different wildlife exhibits and demos at the expo.  People can expect to see, well wolves of course, birds of prey, prairie dogs, desert foxes, reptiles, and a lot of other small wildlife and a beautiful Husky named Astra from Husky House rescue.  Children and adults will get to learn about the wolves and wildlife there, how they can help to protect them and support them.  Education is very important to Teresa and the other organizations there, so people will not only leave in awe of the wildlife they just witnessed in person, but also to have a new awareness about the wildlife too.

When asked, what drives you to continue your work, Teresa responded, “because of my sheer love and passion for wolves and to help educate the public about them.”  Teresa also said, “The most important part of my work is about conservation and teaching about the major role wolves have in our ecosystem.  We strive to teach the public that wolves or wolf dogs do not make good pets. Our belief is that wolves should never be pets. It’s their birthright to live in the wild.”

Teresa works closely with the STAR Foundation, located in Middle Island, which is a federally and state licensed rehab center for all kinds of wildlife from birds of prey, foxes, coyotes, farm animals and wolves.

Working also with many different wildlife rescue organizations that house wolves, Teresa gets to work with them hands on for socialization, feeding, ‘discovery time,’  this is where a wolf can be a wolf – spending much of their time running, playing and just being free.  There’s so much to learn about their behavior and habits, they change so often.  Teresa gets to work with them on a weekly basis and she finds it very rewarding, “they love to have visitors,” said Teresa.  But let’s be clear, Teresa does not own a wolf, nor have a wolf living in her house – she is happy to cuddle with her dogs, you can’t cuddle with a wolf – they are still wild.

For a full schedule of the expo click here.

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21 Sep 11

The Tortoise & the Dog! ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

This year fall has bestowed cooler temperatures on us faster than some of us may like – but many pet owners know our animals are loving it.  It’s also perfect weather to attend the many fall festivals – and of course all the pet events happening across LI.  It’s almost impossible to get to every pet event, but there is bound to be an event close to you and most of them are pet friendly – meaning you can bring your well behaved leashed pet with you.

This past weekend at Tanner Park in Copiague, NY – the LI Pet Expo had their 2nd Annual Pet Expo in the Park and if you missed it – there were a ton of fantastic pet vendors, rescue groups, educational groups, loads of demonstrations by dog trainers, dancing dogs and much more.  Out of everything that was happening throughout the festival, there was one creature captivating the attention of all four legged and two legged attendees – if you were there you know it was Ike the African Tortoise!  This very large tort was not at all bothered, impressed or scared of the many dogs that didn’t know what to make of him.  It was very funny to watch a huge search and rescue hound dog freaking out a bit when he first spotted Ike – if the dog could speak, he was surely saying, “What the heck is that thing?!?”  And that tortoise Ike could move, he was pretty fast!

On Sunday in Montauk, the 2nd Annual Walk Humane event took place – a 1.5 mile walk on the beach with your dog and vendors and rescue groups from across LI and the East End were there also.  It was a beautiful walk but quite chilly and the sky was grey – but that didn’t stop about 200 people from participating.  The event stared and ended at the Second House in Montauk, and with live music, silent auctions and of course lots of dogs – it made for a really nice event.

To stay informed of all pet events coming up across Long Island and New York City – be sure to sign up for the weekly Pet Events Newsletter that lands in email inbox’s every Wednesday morning – you can do so right on this page in the upper right hand corner!  For more information on the Newsletter or how to get your event listed, click here.