What on earth is THAT?

Imagine heading out to grille chicken on the deck and encountering this on the railing?  Repulsive yet intriguing. Those are small bones!  How did it get there?  What on earth put it there (or “left” it, “deposited” it?).  Is this a good thing or a problem?

Turns out it’s a good thing if you want confirmation that birds of prey such as Owls reside among us along Lake Buel.  You see these birds do not process everything they eat quite the same way as one might think.  Undigested food items are internally formed into a ball and regurgitated.  The result is what is called a pellet or cast.  So evidently an Owl or Hawk ate well and decided to complete the process on our deck railing.

Our grilled chicken was good, although we were careful to avoid ingesting any bones.

It’s not just the Lake water that’s under threat from invasives

There’s nothing quite like sitting by a wood stove or an open fireplace to take the chill off as the days grow shorter and the temps fall.  Perhaps you also get satisfaction from knowing that burning wood is displacing use of expensive heating oil or propane.  But did you also know that you could inadvertently be introducing invasive insects to Lake Buel’s shorelines?  It’s true if you ‘import’ firewood.

The beautiful forests surrounding our Lake are under assault from invasive species.  Common threats include woolly adelgid killing Hemlocks and the Asian Longhorned beetle and emerald ash borer insects attacking hardwood trees.  Already woolly adelgid is ravaging eastern MA and metro New York, and Asian Longhorn beetles are prevalent in sections of Worcester County, MA and have been sighted in Brookline and Boston.  With its initial infestation point most likely Brooklyn, the Asian Longhorned beetle has since spread throughout metro New York City including New Jersey.  Even Central Park has not been immune!  It has been described as the most destructive non-native insect in the US.

What can we do?  Be very careful about buying firewood.  Know where it is sourced, and insist on buying from reputable local firewood dealers.  And be very skeptical of buying bargain firewood in areas where the Asian Longhorned beetles are prevalent.  Don’t inadvertently accelerate the spread of invasive species by “importing” diseased firewood to Lake Buel.  Buy local!

What to learn more?  Here are a few sites you might find helpful:

Don’t Move Firewood

New York Dept of Environmental Protection

New Jersey Dept of Agriculture

Connecticut Dept of Energy and Environmental Protection