The Hudson River Almanac is a weekly natural history newsletter that covers the Hudson from the High Peaks of the Adirondacks to New York Harbor. It seeks to capture the river’s spirit, magic, and science by presenting observations from many individuals who delight in the diversity of nature in the Hudson Valley.
Since 1994, observations have been compiled from the contributions of more than 2000 volunteers, ranging from elementary school students to professional biologists. In presenting these records, the Almanac provides valuable river information to the public, places contemporary observations in historical perspective, and encourages others to look more closely at the Hudson and share what they see. In addition to recording what nature is doing over the year, the entries offer a fascinating measure of human emotional responses to natural phenomena.
Over time, the Almanac may serve as a comprehensive program to document changes in the ecosystem. Often, information about obscure animals and subtle changes can come only through direct observations made in many places over long periods of time. By compiling records from volunteers who observe nature as scientists or simply for their own pleasure, the Almanac builds a data base that can be used to guide future studies of Hudson Valley ecology.
Contribute Your Observations
Share your observations with other Hudson River lovers by e-mailing them to compiler Tom Lake
Since the start of the new millennia, winter has been dominated by bald eagles, particularly along tidewater. Many, if not most, of the Hudson Valley bald eagle nests are presently incubating and the countdown to hatch (32-35 days) is underway. Glass eels in from the sea have had a sputtering beginning but are due to pick up as the water warms. Add in oysters and a lost croaker, and we had a good week.
The Hudson River has always seemed mysterious. The estuary is an overwhelmingly opaque expanse of grayness. What’s beneath, swimming unseen, is largely left to our imagination. This week two uncommon fishes were captured in sampling gear, each seemingly out-of-place. It is easy to day-dream as you look out on the water and wonder, “what else is hiding out there?” Our list of 237 documented species of fish for the Hudson River seems so transitory.
There were subtle signs of spring in early February including glass eels in from the sea, bald eagles in full breeding preparation, the matting call of an American woodcock, and at least one day of record warmth.
This week was highlighted by the arrival, after a long ocean journey, of the first glass eels of the season. Our bald eagle nests were stirring in anticipation of the soon-to-arrive mating and egg-laying season.
The lead story this week was the appearance of an uncommon to rare gull that flaunted its rarity with multiple sightings across several locations, not a common occurrence for one-off rare birds. We also have a bit more Carolina wren commentary following rather comprehensive coverage last week. Then we had a sign of real winter on the river, eagles on ice floes, albeit just a couple of eagles on one tiny ice floe.
Winter bird counts continued this week. They ultimately give us an idea of the species richness and diversity, as well as an appreciation of the wildlife that we share on the water, in the fields and in the forests.
Project of the Hudson River Estuary Program Compiled and edited by Tom Lake, Consulting Naturalist We moved into a very un-winter season with almost no ice on the estuary and snowmelt flooding in the High Peaks. Late season warblers, many of which might be expected to...
During our three week Holiday pause (21 days), we had a Winter Solstice, two major Holidays, a storm of Christmas Bird Counts, a deluge of rain, and several rare bird occurrences. This edition of the Almanac does its best to fill us in.
Our Hudson River Almanac will take our traditional Holiday Season pause beginning next week and going through New Year’s. However, receiving and compiling readers’ stories, adventures, and observations does not pause. The river, the forest, and the air never take a holiday. And without all of you, we have no Almanac. After the pause, we will all begin Year 31 of our Hudson River Almanac.
The watershed is truly in transition. With winter approaching, at one end of the watershed the week featured migrating waterfowl spurred on by severe weather to the north, but at the other end of the watershed, tropical fishes—real risk-takers—were still being caught.
Project of the Hudson River Estuary ProgramCompiled and edited by Tom Lake, Consulting Naturalist Overview Most of the watershed is still braced for the first serious onset of winter weather. The river has chilled to below wading temperature and seining has become a...
Project of the Hudson River Estuary ProgramCompiled and edited by Tom Lake, Consulting Naturalist Overview After many years of sharing the Hudson River’s tidewater with family, friends, students, and colleagues, I have concluded that hauling a seine is like reading a...