Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 114
We had a few sunny days this week, but we also got more rain. One day I was far from the truck when it started. Weather radar and the weatherman said I had until about one before it was going to rain, but it started right at eleven and didn’t stop until I was in the truck at three. I put my hearing aids and other electronic gadgets in my lunch box to keep them dry. I didn’t find any baby loons that day either, but I did see a nice adult Bald Eagle. The eagle flew right over an adult loon, which said nothing, but then another loon at the other end of the lake got very upset. I don’t think she had chicks, or I didn’t find them or her after I rowed the entire length of the lake. I did find a pair of Geese with young offspring, an Eastern Kingbird feeding her young and a Belted Kingfisher with a young one in tow looking for a fish. There was a small flock of Black Capped Chickadees, a family of Winter Wrens and a few families of Song Sparrows feeding along the shoreline who were not happy with my presence. On the way back to the landing, a beaver came out of the brush on shore and cruised around the boat a couple times, but never did slap its tail.
I went up the Cedar River Flow one day looking for the pair of loons that I don’t think have nested this year, or I just haven’t found their nest. The Bald Eagle has been harassing them every day, except today when I was here watching them. The Pied Billed Grebes are always calling out a warning that someone is around their babies. You must set aside a long time to get to see them following mom or dad in the weeds. I’ve done it a few times, but not today as there was a big black cloud coming over Wakely Mountain. I just got the canoe loaded on the truck and had strapped it down when it began to pour. There were some kayakers out on the flow who got wet for sure.
I walked into Sprague Pond in the rain and the loons were good enough to come out from behind the islands and show themselves, but they had no chicks. They must have lost their nest in the flooding as it was not above water very much when I looked at it a couple weeks ago.
Along most of the boggy shoreline that I’ve been near, there are hundreds of yellow horned bladderworts. These plants have little bladders on their root system that catch little bugs who are zipping around in the water below the bogs.
The wild orchids are having a good year, so they must like all the wet weather and not much sunshine. Many orchids grow in bogs that are just floating on water and don’t really need much water to grow because their feet are in it most of the time. There are some land dwellers too. Many of the ones I watch to see if they are blooming each year have done well recently. Most are a couple weeks ahead of normal times when they bloom. I believe that hot spell in June may have perked things along sooner than normal.
If you look along the shorelines of the lakes, you can see the red maples already putting on a red glow. With all the wet and warm weather, the tree growth this year has been more than normal. Lots of the berry, nut, and seed producing shrubs and trees are also having a banner year. Pin and choke cherry trees are bending down with the weight of the fruit on them. The beechnuts cover nearly every branch in some places and the beaked hazelnuts are bending this shrub to the ground. The chipmunks don’t even have to climb up to collect nuts.
Many of the cone bearing evergreens are also having a good year, which should mean a good year for birds coming from up north to this area for the winter. We had some cones last year but there are a lot more coming on this year. There are some seed eaters already around, with White Wing Crossbills being seen in the Plains. Lots of times if you are camping you will see these birds working in the fireplaces looking for salt and other minerals.
There is some of that eye disease in the Purple Finch birds, so keep those feeders cleaned with hot water at least once a week. You can spray hot water on the area under your feeders to keep other birds from catching it.
The hummer babies are out and about, and it won’t be long until they head south, but that’s another story. See ya.
Small purple Yellow Horned bladderwort