Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 111
Those who are doing a rain dance can stop at any time; even the Loons have told me they have had enough. Some Loons did lose their nests in the high water. Others added to their nests to stay above the rising water and did save their eggs. We had two and a half inches one night and that was a real battle to stay ahead of that rising water levels. Most Loons have their chicks on the water by now, so they can be counted in the Annual Loon Census being done this Saturday from 8 to 9am. On the lakes, I’m watching four nests that came off this week and I lost two to high water. Trail cameras on some of the nests showed that some kayakers and canoeists don’t give any respect to a nest area. Luckily, these folks got out of the area and the birds got back on before predators got the eggs or the eggs got cold. In that last week of incubation, when the chicks fill the eggshell, they get cold much faster and the adults hold on the nest much longer before being pushed off, if they get off at all.
A couple adventures this week doing Boreal Birds Surveys on Beaver Brook and the Marion River, which flow into Raquette Lake. With all the rain, both were flowing quite high, and it was the first time that I’ve done Beaver Brook when there was a strong current flowing out into the lake. Doing all these marsh and bog areas you would think I would see lots of Great Blue Herons, but not this year. The first one I saw was as I came back down Beaver Brook, then two days later I saw one along the shoreline of Fourth Lake. Then I saw number three as we were coming down the Marion River. That one we flushed several times as it went up and down the river ahead of us. The one on Beaver Brook caught a big frog as it stood not far away and let us go by as it put that frog down the throat.
Coming down the Marion River there was a strong current and as we rounded the second bend in the river a nice bear jumped in from the left side and swam across the river in front of us. Then we could hear it splashing away as it went out through the wet marsh area. No time to even get the camera out for a picture.
The big beaver dam in the Marion River was a nice white water run down, but not so much fun coming back up, but we made it through it after a couple tries. We got a few Boreal Birds as we went down the river, including two different Olive-sided Flycatchers and three Palm Warblers singing along the way. We saw two beavers eating the roots of the water plants. We did see some Variable Leaf Milfoil that grows in the river, and they have a catch bucket to put invasive plants at the canoe carry, so you don’t take them to Utowana Lake. Some of that Milfoil has been moved into Utowana, but it may have come down from Blue Mountain Lake, as it grows there and most of the boats that come down for a ride go all the way to the dam and turn around. The county put up signs to keep motorboats from going down to the dam, but while I was watching the other day, three party barges went right by the signs down to the dam. So much for that plan.
Speaking of invasives, the wild parsnip is in flower along all the area roads now with a yellow umbrella flower. This plant can give you third degree burns if you get the sap on your skin. You can cut off the flowers with long handle nippers and spray the plant with round-up and kill it. Cutting off the flowers keeps it from putting out a few hundred more seeds to come up next year. The new road job on 28 last year had some outside fill brought in and now you see it growing in new places along the highway. If you are having a driveway done with crushed stone, check the next year and make sure it didn’t have any seeds from invasives that will now come up in your yard.
The turkeys are showing up with some babies, which also got out before all the rains came. Normally during a wet spring, both the grouse and turkeys lose many of their nests. I just had fourteen babies under the feeders, with two moms watching from outside the fence.
A few new wildflowers are blooming, lots are orchids, but that’s another story. See ya.
Above Photo: Loon pair with two day old chicks