Nearly every year, somewhere in the eastern US, a brood of periodical cicadas (Magicicada spp.) emerges for the first time in 13 or 17 years. Each brood contains millions of individuals and it's probably one of the most spectacular displays that you would be lucky enough to experience. Before the episode, Steve and Bill traveled to Syracuse to see the tail end of Brood VII at a property owned by the Griffin Hill Farm Brewery. They recount that experience, explore the biology of cicadas, discuss why periodical cicadas live underground for so many years, and talk about the history and current status of brood VII. Enjoy!
During this bonus episode, Bill interviews Gordon Maupin, former director of the Wilderness Center in northeastern Ohio and, along with Joann Ballbach and Gary Popotnik, the former host of "Wild Ideas...The Podcast".
"Wild Ideas" was (and is) an excellent resource for information on natural history and it was a strong influence on our decision to start our own podcast after it ended in November 2014- less than a year before we released the first episode of The Field Guides.
Enjoy the episode and "...as always, all you moms and dads, make sure your children get outside. Always great to let them go out there and roll over a log, turn over a rock. Make sure they get wet, muddy, and dirty, Just make sure they get outside and play."
Have you seen the light? This month, the guys take their first foray into the world of fungi, specifically bioluminescent fungi! Although fireflies and other glowing critters have been well researched, fungi that glow are not nearly as well understood. Often referred to as "foxfire" or "fairy fire", their glow was first documented way back in ancient times, but researchers are still figuring out what it's all about. Join Bill and Steve as they shed some light on the latest research into these fascinating fungi.
This episode was recorded in the Eternal Flame Falls section of Chestnut Ridge Park in Orchard Park, NY on July 4th, 2018.
This is the story of two guys who enter the woods looking for Arisaema triphyllum, the graceful woodland wildflower known to many as Jack-in-the-pulpit. Not only is it beautiful to behold, but this member of the Arum family has a fascinating natural history; it can switch its sex, fool midge flies, and cause botanists to have heated debates about subspecies. During the episode, Steve makes a contribution to botanical history by coming up with the best alternative common name Bill has ever heard (see title), and we wrap things up with Bill eating some of this toxic plant. Listen to the end to see if Bill dies. Enjoy!
The great salamander migration has begun! ...and ended... Every spring there is a small window of time when adult spotted salamanders emerge from their subterranean homes and mate in nearby seasonal wetlands. Bill, Steve, Rich, and Donna venture out to find these elusive critters.
The first half of the episode takes place at Beaver Meadow Audubon center and is recorded in the typical style (...we see one salamander). The second half takes place at Donna's property and is much more free-form than usual (AND we see more salamanders than we can count). Enjoy!
It's not a skunk... and it's not a cabbage... This month, Steve and Bill discuss Skunk Cabbage. The guys go over the spathe, spadix, contractile roots, and thermogenesis, among other things. We also pose maybe too many questions to our audience:
1. Is Skunk Cabbage a clonal species?
2. Can Skunk Cabbage have multiple inflorescences?
3. Do warblers nest in Skunk Cabbage spathes?
4. Does Skunk Cabbage heat up to to promote cross pollination?
Enjoy (and help us answer these questions)!
Today we begin the first of many future episodes about spring ephemeral wildflowers. During this episode, Steve and Bill talk about Coltsfoot's adaptations, life cycle, use as a cooking spice, and toxicity. Unfortunately, the guys never figure out what the species name, farfara, means... if you know, share the love. Enjoy!
Can one specimen of a native plant be more "native" than another? For those ecologists who are working to restore damaged ecosystems, whether or not they should use local ecotypes is an important question to consider. In this episode, Bill and Steve hit the road to visit Sonnenberg Gardens and the NYS Parks staff working to help restore ecosystems with an emphasis on natives and local ecotypes.
Steve and Bill start off 2018 with an episode about Eastern Screech-owls. The guys talk about the Eastern Screech-owl's dichromatism, adaptations for hunting at night, and even call one in during the podcast. Make sure to wear headphones for this one- the birds calling in the distance aren't always easy to hear. Steve also gets really nervous about being killed by a bobcat for some reason... Enjoy!