Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 102

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Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 102

They say the peppers must freeze three times before you can put out your plants in the garden; well they have been frozen six times by my count and it doesn’t look like it's over yet. 25 degrees here this morning and the grass by the pond is all white. The ducks flew up for breakfast under feeders and even flew back down to the pond. Some days they walk all the way up just for exercise, I guess.

Other news in the bird world: my hummers showed up on the 4th this year and the Rose Breasted Grosbeak came the same day to the feeders. They were at Star Livingstone’s feeders the day before in Woodgate. I guess it took them another day to fly over the mountains in between. The Evening Grosbeaks are still coming to the feeders and I don’t know why they call them “Evening,” because they are here before daylight each morning, calling their raucous calls and I never see them or hear them in the evening. The Purple Finch have taken over the feeders when the motorcycle gangs of Blue Jays aren’t here. I‘ve had over sixty for several days, with a few American Goldfinch sprinkled in the mix. There have been lots of sparrows and juncos on the ground under the feeders. The Song and Fox Sparrows came before we went to Florida and I banded 20 Song Sparrows that day, but the Fox Sparrows never got in the Potter trap and there were four around here for four days. When we came home, the White Throated and White Crowned Sparrows showed up and I banded a few of them along with several Slate Colored Juncos and a few Black Capped Chickadees. 

I received word from the Bird Banding Lab that the Black Capped Chickadee that I originally banded on 11/19/2009, and caught 18 times between then and when I caught it again on 3/24/2021, in every year but two, is the oldest Black Capped Chickadee ever recorded in the United States. It will be listed in their longevity records, which is neat when you think of what that bird has gone through in all those years. It doesn’t migrate to South America each year, but it still must put up with our winters, so I guess I must have fed it well. 

I put in a few on my loon platforms this week, as most of our resident loons are back on territory, but not nesting yet. The earliest I’ve known to have one locally on a nest was about the fifteenth of May and the latest was the middle of July, and those chicks came off the nest on the 12 of August. They made it out before they got froze in. 

Ellie George sent me a report that her son had seen over 100 loons fishing this week on Saratoga Lake. They could have been some of the loons migrating up from the Gulf of Mexico and got blown off course with all the storms that have been coming out of the Gulf and smashing the southern part of the country. They will have to get their bearings and make a course correction to get back on their lakes in the northern part of the US and Canada. 

The migration of the songbirds was also pushed in many directions with these storms and many more songbirds came up the coast of Mexico and into Texas rather than make a straight shot across the Gulf into the southern states. Many birds are here on territory singing their songs much earlier than normal. 

We start banding at Crown Point tomorrow, ⅝, and it will probably show that we missed some of the warblers and sparrows which have already gone by here going north, but time will tell. This is the 46th year running the banding station at this time of the year, so records show when these things happen. Then there might be a batch of birds that have been holding south of us with all the colder weather we have been having and we might get slammed while we are there. 

I showed you my white streptocarpus houseplant and now my blue streptocarpus is in full bloom and it will be in bloom the rest of the summer. These are quite easy to grow indoors. 

The wildflowers outdoors are showing their colors everywhere along with all the fern curls popping out of the ground, but that ‘s another story. See ya.

Above photo: Colts foot 

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Evening grosbeaks

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