Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 113
We nearly had three sunny days in a row, which was scary, then a thunderstorm came through and broke the string. We didn’t get flooded out like many folks in China, Germany and Arizona where they had record rains and floods that washed away homes with several people losing their lives. The fires out west are still spreading, burning thousands of acres and smoke from those fires blowing east are causing bad air quality in many areas.
We will be banding loons starting on 8/4 to 8/11, with a day off in the middle for good behavior. The first three days we will be working out of Newcomb, and we may be doing some lakes in this area. You may see lights on the lakes in the middle of the night, as that is how we catch the loons and band them. There will be a visitor night during both sessions, but we don’t know where yet, as lakes to be checked haven’t been determined. You would have to check the web site, adkloon.org, closer to the banding days to find out where visitor nights will be held. The second session will be around the Saranac Lake area. This 8 pm–5 am job and sleeping days sure changes your schedule, both eating and sleeping. I nap while traveling between lakes, as they don’t let the old guy drive much anymore, but he can still catch loons. I got good practice for catching them while working on my brother Bob’s salmon fishing boat on Lake Ontario. It’s about the same thing using the same size net, only netting birds rather than fish. Getting them in the boat or canoe can be a little tricky, but normally it happens.
You may have seen me along the local roadsides working on controlling the wild parsnip, which is growing in many places. Clipping off the seed heads will save thousands of seeds from making it to next year's plants. Over by Cedar Creek, a group of kayakers went by going up the stream, which wasn’t very far up above the bridge. They asked what I was doing, and I told them. One lady who had been at the hummer banding at Stillwater said, “you’re Gary Lee,” and I said yes. She said, “I would like to spend a week with you,” and I came back with “I might have to check with my wife on that!”
I take quite a few photos most everyday, both with my little camera which is always in my pocket and some on my big camera with the big lens. When I get home, I download them on an external hard drive and I’ve been doing that for several years. Well, this week, the external hard drive said no more room, so when I go to the city this week that will be on the shopping list. I don’t know just how many photos there are on the hard drive, but there are lots of them. Since I take raw, as well as JPGs, it does take up more space, but there is a lot more information in the raw photos.
Doing my loon work, I go to Number Four once a week to visit Beaver Lake, Lower Beaver-Eagle Falls, and Francis Lake. The dirt road was in good shape this week, as the Town of Webb Highway was working the road with a grader. I have a chick on both Beaver Lake and Francis Lake. They both hatched two chicks, but lost a chick during the first week to some predator. At Eagle Falls, I tried a platform, as that pair had lost nests the last couple years to high water, but they keep trying in the same spot. I put a platform near that spot, but someone didn’t like the platform, as they cut it loose from the anchor. It only floated to shore and not over the dam, so I could recover it. They must have needed a boat anchor, so bring one of your own next time.
At the dam, there have been a pair of spotted sandpipers which have young each year. They take their kids to the dam site as soon as they can fly and feed them there as they walk the dam planks catching bugs that hatch both above and below the dam site.
Over in the eastern part of the state, gypsy moth caterpillars have cleaned the leaves off many of the trees. My brother said in his yard, which has big oak and hickory trees, they just about cleaned them of leaves and no nuts, as they eat the flowers that produce the nuts also. There were so many of them that the droppings all over the yard were worse than geese, just like green slim. I know in some places they had to sand the roads after; there were so many of these caterpillars being run over crossing the highways, the roads become slippery.
It’s been a good year for orchids, as I guess they like the rain, but that’s another story. See ya.
Above photo: Loons and chicks Francis Lake
Gypsy moth damage Jabe Pond near Lake George by Elie George