We have been monitoring 15 blue bird nest boxes at Intervale Lowlands Preserve throughout the summer (See previous blog post http://intervalelowlands.org/bluebird-monitoring/). At this point in the season, the birds are starting to fledge, and we can share our results.

Location of Nest boxes

Location of Nest boxes

Most nest boxes are set out in pairs. Tree swallows and bluebirds have similar nest box requirements such as cavity size. This could be problematic if you know you have tree swallows and want to offer nest box opportunities for bluebirds. Because tree swallows generally will not nest in close proximity to each other, boxes were placed in pairs to increase chances of bluebird occupation. This year we did not observe any nest boxes being occupied next to another nest box, regardless of resident species.
We observed nearly 50% occupancy across all nest boxes. Boxes 2, 5, & 9 were occupied by Eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis) and all three held a clutch size of four. In box 2, as of today, two chicks were successfully hatched and fledged; two eggs remained unhatched. All of the chicks in box 5 were hatched and are due to fledge in about a week. Similarly, the chicks in box 9 are close to fledging; although one egg remains unhatched.
Boxes 4, 8, 11, & 14 housed tree swallows. Box 14 had a promising start (5 eggs) however, eggs disappeared daily and the one chick that did hatch died 4-6 days after hatching. Boxes 8 & 11 each held five chicks and box 4 had six and all fledged successfully. In the remaining boxes (1, 3, 6, 7, 10, 12, 13, and 15) no nesting attempts were observed.
This is the first year we have documented bluebird nesting activity and success at the preserve. All data is available at http://nestwatch.org/ with downloads via http://nestwatch.org/nw/public/export
Anastasia Dierna 07/15/2014

We will be hosting a moth night as part of national Moth week. Moth week is every year in July. This year, it is from July 19-27. Visit http://nationalmothweek.org/ for more informaiton, and consider joining us the evening of the 25th for a night of moth identification. Families and friends welcome. Bring snacks and drinks. Dress warm! Arrive around 8:30pm and plan to stay up late.


On July 9th the Lake Placid Garden Club will meet at Intervale Lowlands.

On June 28th Intervale Lowlands Preserve will be a featured stop on the Adirondack tour of the Hudson Mohawk Bird Club field trip led by Tom and Colleen Williams. If you would like to register for this event go to www.hmbc.net. Registration deadline is June 7th.

It’s time for the Great Adirondack Birding Celebration! The festival will be held June 6th-8th 2014 at the Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC) in Paul Smiths, New York. This three day event will offer workshops, lectures, and birding tours. Intervale Lowlands Preserve is a featured stop along the birding tour and last year 61 species were observed here! Additional events include a trip to Lake Champlain in search of migratory birds and an all-day nature photography workshop.  Anyone interested in attending can find information about pricing, scheduling, and directions on www.gabc.info. Additional information about the VIC can be found at http://www.adirondackvic.org/.

Environmental science teacher Tammy Morgan will bring 65 Lake Placid middle school students out to Intervale Lowlands Preserve for the 2nd annual Conservation Day. Students will learn collection techniques for aquatic and terrestrial insects, learn about mammals and birds, and see some of the variety of flora here at Intervale Lowlands.

Our bee sampling protocol is designed in a way that detect changes in spring and summer timing of bees and the flowers they pollinate. This protocol was started in 2013.



Instructions for a low maintenance barred owl nest box, reprinted from the Bird Observer. Taking directly from the attached document: “This article describes how to build Barred Owl (Strix varia) nest boxes that are durable, lighter than previous designs, and easy to maintain. The boxes are made from one-half inch pressure-treated (PT) plywood and are given strength by the innovative use of PT balusters attached to the interior of the box with stainless steel deck screws.”  

Click on the image below to download the pdf.



This spring we are continuing our biological monitoring for frogs and salamanders with call surveys, egg mass counts, and visual encounter surveys (VES). The information we collect is contributed to iNaturalist (http://www.iNaturalist.org.), where it can be stored and shared with scientists and naturalist all over the world. These data can be used to monitor biodiversity and recognize changes that may occur. INaturalist is another great source to report what you observe and to learn about organisms observed by other contributors. By sharing information, we can develop a better understanding of our environment and its biota.

Our first frog night was conducted on Tuesday April 22, 2014. Air temperature was between 48 & 49 ͦF and water temperatures ranged from 31.1 ͦF at the Frog Pond site (Figure 1.) to 44.6 ͦF at the Upper loop trail site. Two wood frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus) were heard, and a spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) was photographed at the vernal pool off of the Upper loop trail. Spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer) were heard nearby.

Photo by Larry Master

Photo by Larry Master

Eighteen wood frogs were observed at the Pond site but call sounds were few. Perhaps the water temperature was a bit too low (31.1 ͦF). Two Wood frogs and one green frog (Lithobates clamitans) were observed at the South field thickets site. Spring peepers were heard here. A Red spotted newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) was observed in the water at Jerry’s lean-to, however no frog calls were heard at Jerry’s or Nikki’s Lean-tos. Additionally, we have mapped out two sites in hopes of locating red-backed salamanders during visual encounter surveys. We will report our findings once we begin surveying.


(Figure 1. Locations of five frog call sites and two red-backed salamander sites.)

There are multiple sites to explore and familiarize you with frog calls such as: http://www.naturebits.org. https://www.pwrc.usgs.gov., & http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu. All of these sites exhibit pictures and have recorded calls for multiple species. Please contact us if you are interested in participating. Stay tuned for upcoming events and happenings!

Anastasia Dierna April 29, 2014


We have started contributing bluebird nesting data to NestWatch (http://nestwatch.org) as part of our avian monitoring protocol. NestWatch is a project of The Cornell Lab of Ornithology that aims to document changes in avian reproductive biology, timing of nesting, clutch size, and survival rates. NestWatch is a great source for nation-wide avian information and Intervale Lowlands Preserve is excited to be contributing bluebird nesting data to this effort. Like other national citizen science programs, NestWatch is a valuable resource for educational and scientific opportunities for citizen scientists.

Photo by Larry Master

Photo by Larry Master

At Intervale Lowlands we are using NestWatch to monitor the eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis). We conducted our first nest box check of the 2014 season on April 3. There are fifteen nest-boxes on the preserve, each corresponding to a point on the map (image below). Successful nesting attempts in 2013 were slightly over 50%. Box numbers 2, 3, 4,6,9,10,12, & 13 all showed evidence of nesting. Approximately 20% of the nests were unused (boxes 8, 5, 11, & 1), with box number 1 containing a dead sparrow. Box number 14 held clean shavings but there was no evidence of nesting. Similarly, box number 15 contained moss but no nest attempt was made. Hopefully 2014 will yield higher rates of successful nesting attempts! The NestWatch database stores all of this information for us and, at the same time, provides access of these data to researchers worldwide. We will continue to monitor throughout the summer. Check back to see updated information as the season progresses.


Fifteen bluebird nest boxes at Intervale Lowlands Preserve

For those of you interested in participating, NestWatch has a great website that offers information about how to find nests, how to approach nesting bluebirds, and how to participate in this type of monitoring effort. You can download forms, along with tutorials, concerning proper protocols for collecting data on http://nestwatch.org/ . Additional sites, such as ebird (http://ebird.org/), Project FeederWatch (http://feederwatch.org/), and Yardmap http://content.yardmap.org/, provide further sources of information for citizen science bird monitoring. Birding is a great activity for the casual observer and provides wonderful educational opportunities. Through the programs mentioned above, birders, young and old, are able to contribute to the ongoing efforts of scientists and naturalists around the country. So, give it a try. We think you will love it!

-Anastasia Dierna, 14 April, 2014

Intervale Lowlands is a 135 acre private nature preserve in Lake Placid, NY along the West Branch of the Ausable River. It is comprised of forested areas, grasslands, wetlands, and aquatic habitats that support more than 150 species of birds, including rare forest breeding raptors. Intervale Lowlands has been preserved by Nancy and Larry Master through a conservation easement held by the Lake Placid Land Conservancy. Intervale Lowlands aims to partner with local and regional nature centers, conservation organizations, universities, and individuals through education, outreach, and scientific research.

Please visit our partners, explore our biological inventory, and participate in our events.

Contact Larry Master for more information.

Our weather forecast is from WP Wunderground