Saturday, May 29, 2010

Chicks and Owls

The six chickadee nestlings using the Gahagan birdhouse with a camera feed to the cabin's TV are growing fast and look ready to fly. The parents are busy flying in food to the hungry mouths then waiting for their young to bend over so they can remove the chicks excrement and fly it out of the nest. It is interesting to watch if not pleasurable to think about!

A large owl is hanging around the walkway between the pond and the gazebo. Take a peek around or sit and listen. we saw it around 11am this morning.

New wildflowers keep popping. The Glidden wildflower garden in front of the cabin is full of bumblebees and butterflies buzzing through this maturing patch. In another year, the plot should be thick with the plantings of a couple of years ago.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wildflowers on Display

The Joan Glidden butterfly garden at the cabin is beginning to bloom. Aquilegia anadensis, red columbine, have flowered. Lilies of the Valley and violets are a couple others showing flowers.
Trientalis borealis (star flower) is frequent along the asphalt path between the cabin and the gazebo. It is a short plant with a white flower consisting of seven pointed petals in, you guessed it, a star pattern. You might also note that horsetails, a plant that looks like a miniature pine tree, are starting to grow through the asphalt especially near the gazebo. Oh well, you can't fool Mother Nature.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Join Us at Along the AuSable

Gahagan is more than a nature preserve. Twice a year we organize volunteers to wade into the AuSuble River to collect samples of macro inverebrates (mostly aquatic bugs) to measure the quality of the water. We do this at 6 different points in the upper AuSable splitting in teams of 4 or 5 people. Collection points include
  • the Mainstream upstream from Stephan Bridge
  • the South Branch upstream of Watter's Edge near Steckert Bridge
  • the East Branch on the south edge of Hartwick Pines State Park
  • the North Branch near dam 4
  • the Big Creek of the North Branch upstream of North Down River Road
  • the Big Creek near Luzerne upstream of Randall Road

It is a fun day. It takes no experience as you will be paired with a knowledgeable collector. You learn about the river environment. The next collection day is June 5 meeting at Noon at the Kirtland Community College Biology Lab. We will go over a few instructions there, have lunch (provided) and head to the stream. We should be done by 5 pm. We have the equipment but if you prefer your own waders, bring them. We hope to extend our collection reach in the future but we need more caring volunteers to do so. Please join us!.

For more information, go to and click on AuSable Monitoring link. It will give you details about the project, the collection day and contact points for more information.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Chicks in the Nest

Earlier we reported that Gahagan has a chickadee nest in the birdhouse near the cabin that is equipped with a camera. The eggs have hatched and the 6 (we think) young chickadees are hungry. Through the grainy photo taken from the TV, you can make out a parent chickadee and to the right are a few of the hungry mouths opened wide for their treat.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

MSU Extension Forester, Russell Kidd walked an eager group of learners though the methods of tree identification today at the Gahagan Preserve. Then he took them out on the trails to literally walk them through groves of trees for some practical experience. What a great job he did. Thanks for all that participated.

For future Gahagan learning programs go to

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Walk Through the Trees

Come visit Gahagan Preserve on Saturday morning and join Russell Kidd, MSU Extenstion Forester as he expains which trees are what. Here is your chance to learn tree identification and ask those questions about forest pests. Russell will lead a walk through Gahagan's forest following a teaching session in the cabin. 10AM- Noon.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Kirtland Warbler Fest

As part of the Kirtland Warbler Wildlife Festival, Tom Dale - our environmental educator - took about 20 participants on a hike through Gahagan Nature Preserve yesterday. Wandering through the Gahagan paths he pointed out the features that he uses to teach hundereds of school childeren each year about our wonderful natural world. Join us today at the Kirtland Community College campus where the main festival day gets in full swing.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

At the Rosco Business Expo

We had a number of people stop by the Gahagan booth at the expo last night. Thanks for coming and thank you to those who joined or renewed their memberships. Here Tom Dale visits with severeal of his former students - part of the twice yearly school field trips to the Gahagan Preserve's environmental education prorams for area schools. See for more on this and our other out-reach programs.

Remember the guided hike with Tom at the cabin on Friday at 5PM. Also, join us Saturday at the Kirtland Warbler Wildlife Festival at Kirtland Community College.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Join Us This Week

Gahagn Nature Preserve will have an information. booth at two community events this week.

On Wednesday, visit us at the Roscommon Business Expo outside on the lawn of the CRAF Center from 3 to 7.

On Saturday, we will have a booth at the Kirtland Warbler Wildlife Festival from 10AM until 3PM. go to for festival information.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sunday at Gahagan

A goshawk sat high in one of Gahagan's stately pines yesterday. Good chance it has a nest. This large predator bird likes the tall, mature forest and deftly maneuvers through the understory chasing down grouse, other birds and small mammals. If you venture near its nest, beware! They defend their territory fiercely - attacking a human is not uncommon.

The marsh marigolds are in full bloom along Tank Creek and the adjoining wetlands. Take a stroll on the Gahagan boardwalks. There is a large patch of them nearby.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May's Pine Whisper

Available today and through the rest of May is the next installment of Marguerite Gahagan's Pine Whispers. These are reprints of her North Woods Call columns from the 1960's. Join us as we remember what was happening outside the cabin in May fifty years ago. To view our May selection go to and click on Pine Whispers in the top menu. We'll add a new one on June 1.