Archive for the ‘Wildlife’ Category

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30 Apr 11

by Nancy E. Hassel, LIPetPlace.com

Recently we hiked a trail in Manorville, Manorville Hills County Park, which is dog friendly and also has horse trails and mountain bike trails.  This path system is a relatively new addition to the Greenbelt Trail for hikers on LI.  I know what you’re thinking if you are reading this living in Nassau County – Manorville, you’re either saying, “where is that?” or “I am not driving all the way out there!”  First I would say, when you’re on this trail, you really can’t believe you’re still on Long Island – this has to be one of the hilliest trails around – boasting a 150-foot high elevation, (that’s 15 stories high folks), throughout the majority of this 6.5-mile hike we were climbing up some serious hills.  It is well worth the drive whether your 20 minutes away or and hour and 20 minutes away.  When you are at the top of the highest elevation – it’s just beautiful.

The hike will take you approximately 2 hours 15 minutes.  If you do bring your dog be sure you dog is up to a hiking a trail like this.  My dog, who is used to being walked 3 or 4 miles and going on hikes, was pretty tired ¾ of the way through, and was wiped the rest of the day! (But he was all ready for another walk the next day – damn good for an almost 10 year old dog!).

Also since this trail is right smack dab in the middle of the beautiful Pine Barren Region – make sure you wear long pants (covering your hiking boots or sneakers) and spray your pants with bug spray.  This is tick season (all over LI) and I did have to stop a few times to knock ticks of the dog – yuck, (the natural bug spray from Fetch Doggies Boutique I used on him worked pretty well), but the trails are wide enough for the most part that your not walking through brush.  Unfortunately, ticks are par for the course on any and most hikes, parks and even your own well landscaped back yard here on LI.  Be sure to check your dog thoroughly a few times during and after any hike – or even after he comes in from your own yard.

So if you are taking part of the 250-Challenge this will be a great hike to add into your challenge, knock out 6.5-miles, and have a great workout climbing those Long Island mountains! The pictures below don’t do justice to how steep some parts were.

We followed the yellow marked trail from the parking area (square yellow marks on sprayed onto trees) to the orange marked trees all the way through, (turned yellow again about ¾ way through, then back to orange) and this is a loop that will bring you back to the parking area.  We did this without a map of the trail!  However you can purchase a map from the LI Greenbelt and get directions to the park which is off of Country Road 111 (on the north bound side).

We didn’t see too much wildlife during the hike, to my surprise, some birds and a nuclear green colored bug, small lavender colored moths fluttering about, and on our way out a family of deer.

Max taking a rest during hike!

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05 Mar 11

By Nancy E. Hassel, LIPetPlace.com

The Long Island Pet Expo drew in large crowds from across LI on Saturday, March 5, 2011, and with rain in the forecast for Sunday, expects the same turnout.  There is something for every type of pet or animal lover, whether you like dogs, pot bellied pigs, turtles, snakes, parrots and other wild life – this is the best place to see everything under one roof!

If you are thinking of adding a new pet to be a member of your family – there are rescue groups from all areas of LI with pets that are available for adoption from adorable little Yorkie, cats and kittens, amazing American Pit Bull Terriers, wonderful mixed breeds, ferrets and more.  Stop by each booth and get to know your local rescues, you may just find you new best friend.

One of the sweetest, adorable Pit Bulls looking for a Furever home at the Expo.

There are also fantastic educational shows and demonstrations for kids and families alike, like the Rainforest Reptiles Shows and the Birds of Prey Program.  You will also be oohhh and ahhed watching the flyball, dancing dogs, agility dogs, and the famous poker playing dog “Jilli Dog” and her friends. The bleacher stands were packed full of families watching and cheering on the different shows.  If you love cats, there is a cat show going on at the same time – some cat breeds you may have not seen in person before.  Tons of vendors too – if you are looking to purchase pet products for your pets.

If you were not able to make it today, the Pet Expo is taking place on Sunday, March 6 as well from 10am to 6pm at Suffolk Community College in Brentwood, NY.  For more details, cost and directions click here.  Be sure to pick up your complimentary copy of the ‘Pet Press’ published by the Long Island Press.

Also see Sunday’s schedule below.

SUNDAY – March 6

Dog Ring

10:30 AM       Agility & Frisbee Demonstrations by Doggie U

and LI Road Rage

11:15 AM       Dog Pals Dog Trick Show

12:00 Noon    Classic K9’s

12:45 PM       Dancing with Your Dogs

1:00 PM         Jilli Dog

1:30 PM         Agility and Flyball Demonstrations by Doggie U

and LI Road Rage

2:15 PM         Classic K9

3:00 PM         Dog Pals Dog Trick Show

3:45 PM         Dancing with Dogs

4:15 PM         Classic K9 Dog Show

5:00 PM         Agility, Flyball & Frisbee Demonstrations by  Doggie U

and LI Road Rage

Stage

11:00 AM      Rainforest Reptile Show

12:00 Noon   Petland Discounts Traveling Pet Show

12:30 PM      Birds of Prey Program

1:00 PM        Rainforest Reptile Show

1:30 PM        Dog Pals- How to Use Feeding Time to Train your Dog

2:15 PM        Pet Safe Coalition – “Leave No Animal Behind”

3:00 PM        Rainforest Reptile Show

3:30 PM        Petland Discounts Traveling Pet Show

4:00 PM        Birds of Prey Program

5:00 PM        Rainforest Reptile Show

Cat Ring

TICA CAT SHOW 10:00 am will continue all day until conclusion

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08 Jan 11

By Nancy E. Hassel, LIPetPlace.com

There is a magical place on Long Island if you like nature, birds, and seeing wild animals up close and personal, and no it’s not the zoo, game park or sanctuary.  A nature preserve on the north shore of the South Fork is one of best places on Long Island to observe nature and have wild birds actually land in your hand.  The Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge is a treasure that many Long Islanders have either never heard of or have yet to visit.  It’s beautiful in every season, but something magical happens when there is a fresh fallen snow.  Maybe it’s the fact that there are less people there and more wildlife walking around.  The birds are always very active, but in the winter they are amazing.  You will never see so many bright red cardinals in one place at one time, and for some Long Islander’s you will see birds you have never seen before at your back yard feeder.

If you are looking for something to do outside with your now cabin fevered up kids, or maybe your kids have never been this close to nature, Morton’s is definitely worth the trip whether you live 5 minutes away or an hour away.  There is no other place that I know of like it.  On any given day your can see families of deer walking around, wild turkeys who are not the least bit scared of you, bunnies, squirrels, red tailed hawks, and of course the birds: chickadees, nut hatches, blue jays, tons of cardinals, sparrows and many other species, who will literally greet you at the entrance. It’s quite a spectacle.

Entrance

The first time I ever went, I was with family members and it was a freezing cold day in February of 2006, we had no idea what the place was or that we would be bombarded by birds, and followed through the trails by them.  It was really funny.  At one point we turned around and there had to be at least 30 red (male) cardinals in on tree.

Pair of Cardinals

There is a trail that leads down to the bay beach, (maybe a mile long), and there is a look out deck equipped with binoculars and the view is spectacular.  Another part of the trail loops around through the woods and you pass and pond with a deck for observing wildlife, and you will also cross over a few short wooden foot bridges.  The variety of the landscape at Morton’s is quite interesting too, from wooded trails, tall pine trees, to a swampy feel near the pond to a magnificent bay beach – there is something to see around every turn.

Snow covered trail

View from lookout deck

If you have never been, or have only visited in the summer, you may just want to pack up the kids in their winter gear and head out for a day trip.  This place will not disappoint – and wouldn’t it be nice to get those kids off of the video games for a day?

This is a nature preserve so there are rules, like no pets allowed, not even your little cute dog – leave him home.  No bicycles, and please don’t liter or take things out of the park.

Directions and all info can be found here.  More photo’s below.

Hungry little Tufted Titmouse

White Breasted Nuthatch

Black-capped Chickadee deciding which sunflower seed to go for!

Another Chickadee

Slide show here:

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17 Aug 10

By Nancy E. Hassel, LIPetPlace.com

A remarkable place on Long Island that has been around for just over 75 years but still not known by many LI suburbanites, is the Quogue Wildlife Refuge, (www.QuogueWildlifeRefuge.org), in Quogue, NY.  This is a magical place for little kids and big kids alike, and if you like nature, exploring and learning, you have to visit.  The refuge is one of the last few places you can still go to 7-days a week from sunrise to sunset and it is free.  This unspoiled beautiful piece of land is home to many native wild animals as well as a few from other countries. 

When you arrive you will be greeted by two African Spurred Tortoises that are housed next to one of the original buildings which now houses the Ice Harvesting Exhibit.  After you pass through the entrance gate, you will see animals that are there because they were injured or not legal to have as a pet, that now live their lives, in this place, with plenty of food.  All of these housed animals are all native to New York State.  There is a bald eagle which is very impressive to see so close, a beautiful bobcat, Red Fox, Red-tailed hawks and a few very cool hooting owls.  Beyond that are seven miles of nature trails which go from a deciduous forest environment to ecologically rare Dwarf Pines habitat, in which there are only 3 other places in the world, (yes in the world!), that has that eco-system.  Pretty impressive.  Along the trails you can see a cranberry bog, carnivorous plants, prickly pear cactus and the endangered Pink Lady Slipper orchid, all of these plants are native to LI.

There is a native butterfly garden to the right of the housed animals and The Nature Center Building to the left that is suspended over Old Ice Pond with a beautiful view.  You almost feel as if you are somewhere upstate in a secluded area.  The refuge also has daily camp programs, educational programs for children and adults, and many different animals, fish and snakes for your children to learn about.  They offer green birthday programs a unique twist on a kid’s birthday, and in the winter the refuge lends out snow shoes and cross country skies.  How cool is that?  In the spring, summer and fall months there are many different events including kayaking trips, full moon night hikes, and more.

In speaking with Marisa Nelson, the refuge’s Assistant Director, I asked her what she loves most about working in such a unique, beautiful place and she said, “That everyday here is different, and meeting people who come to learn and explore.  Also the change of seasons here, each season brings new beauty, something new to see and how the wildlife adapts to the changing conditions.”  

One thing important to know, the Quogue Wildlife Refuge is not a dumping ground for unwanted pets, or wild animals that were illegally owned. (They will not take them in)  It is also not a place to walk your dog or bicycle; there are plenty of other places to do that.  This is a place to come and explore on foot an incredible natural environment, see beautiful animals up close and learn more about this amazing Island we live on. 

The Quogue Wildlife Refuge is a non-for-profit organization and it is there obligation to serve as responsible land steward of the refuge property and its natural resources, as well as to promote, implement, support and assist environmental education and wildlife management. 


African Spurred Tortoises

See slideshow below for more pics!