Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee

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Those who have been out and about recently have probably been swatting at black flies, mosquitoes and deer flies. Yes, now even the deer flies are out, as they found me this weekend on Beaver Lake by the Number Four Road. The black flies were so thick while I was out on Limekiln Lake looking for loons nesting that I could not even see the shoreline. Good thing I was wearing my bug jacket.

Loons have not yet nested, but they could easily just sit there and eat black flies without leaving their nests. For the first time in two years I saw the herring gull sitting on her nest atop a rock. After checking nine lakes I only spotted one pair of loons still sitting on their first nest. Other loons either lost their first nest or are not nesting yet.

I noticed lots of wildflowers in bloom yesterday. I saw both pink and yellow lady’s slippers, bog laurel, buckbean, white trillium and star flowers. Yellow lady’s slippers line my driveway. I planted them twenty years ago after receiving seeds from a friend who was up banding goshawks. At that time, he was growing showy lady’s slippers in kiddie pools in which he had created a bog-like habitat.

He asked if I wanted some yellow lady’s slippers, as he considered them weeds. I stuck them in gravel beside my driveway and they have bloomed every year since. I’ve noticed more blooms this year than ever before. There are also small plants in that same area that have sprouted up from seeds of the parent plants. It takes them about three years before they produce flowers.

I moved some seeds from the showy lady’s slippers last year, but haven’t seen anything coming up yet. I will lead a trip to the Remsen Bog on Father’s Day to show guests showy lady’s slippers, white bog orchids, possibly some Loesel’s twayblades…and (maybe) no black flies. All are welcome to join us.

We will meet at View at 9 a.m. before traveling to the corner of State Route 12 and Steuben Street near Shufelt’s Garage and the Citco Gas Station. We will all gather at that location at 10 a.m. before going to the bog a few miles away. Guests should prepare for the elements and dress in attire they won’t mind getting wet and muddy. I suggest wearing rubber boots. Bring along cameras or cell phones to snap some photos. I hope the orchids are out, as some plants have sprouted late this year. The orchids have never failed me in 25 years of hosting this trip on Father’s Day.

I bumped into Leslie Surprenant on Friday. She was going to do some cleanup at the site of Anne LaBastille’s camp on Black Bear Lake. The camp had been moved to the Adirondack Experience Museum a couple winters ago. Those interested can view photos of the relocation online under Anne’s name. I told Leslie I would stop in and see her after watching some loon families on nearby lakes. She was nearly finished when I arrived. She told me someone had stolen the outhouse during the winter. Maybe it will end up on Craigslist? I bet it’s a real gem.

The bugs are so aggressive; I’m not sure how many folks can tolerate them well enough to fish or hike. While donning my bug jacket, I spotted a guy in shorts and a T-shirt on Francis Lake yesterday. I could barely see him through the swarm of bugs. I don’t think he lasted very long unless he was using super strong bug dope. We need some hot weather in order to get all 30 species of black flies at the same time, which I think might have happened. Unfortunately, the mosquitoes will be with us for a while. Stagnant water sits in every shallow hole out in the woods and there aren’t many bats to eat the mosquitoes.

Locally, we don’t have half the water folks along major rivers in the mid-west have. Unfortunately, residents in those areas are caught in a flood stage and will be for a while. The Lake Ontario shoreline is underwater worse than it was two years ago. Man-made barriers may come crashing down in the event of any wind. There was more than eight inches of rainfall in this area during the month of May. Folks living along large rivers received fifteen-to-twenty inches of rainfall.

Be sure to check out View’s 2019 summer schedule. I’m sure many of you will find something to enjoy whether it is a performance, an exhibition, an event, a workshop, or visiting the various galleries.

More wildflowers will bloom each week, but that’s another story. See ya.

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Pink Lady Slipper

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Buck Bean

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Bog Laurel


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  • Donna Stoner 06/06/2019 6:27pm (2 years ago)

    thank you, Gary, a very interesting article... so glad to see it in View's newsletter.

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