Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 119

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Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 119

We missed most of the big bad weather when Hurricane Ida hit the Gulf Coast and traveled all the way up the east coast as a Tropical Storm, causing more deaths in the flooding along that route. 49 people died along the east coast, mostly in New York and New Jersey.  Central Park in the city got over seven inches of rain in a short period of time and over three inches in an hour. This came just after Hurricane Henri had dropped several inches of rain on the area as it passed going up the East Coast.

Hurricane Larry is near Bermuda heading northward and a disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico is being watched and may hit the Gulf Coast later in the week, where they sure don’t need anymore rain. 

The Caldor Fire out in California and Nevada has burned 214,112 acres and has been 43% contained.  Many residents have been allowed back into their homes in South Lake Tahoe under a warning to get out if the fire roars up again. The fire is threatening 27,670 structures and has already burned 712 individual residences and 18 commercial buildings.

The fire tower lighting went on Saturday night in a clear sky with just a few clouds to the west of us. I was up on the top landing of the Woodhull Fire Tower, but I didn’t get up there in time for sunset. The wind towers north of Lowville were all blinking their lights, as well as the ones in Southern Herkimer County. The Oneida County Airport in Rome is well lit up as well from that location. From Woodhull, there are lots of red spruce tops blocking the view, mostly to the northeast and a couple to the northwest. One is right in line to the Stillwater Fire Tower. The only clear shot to the north is right at the Rondaxe Fire Tower and a little of the north shore of Second Lake of the Fulton Chain of Lakes below the tower. I saw their light first come on just before nine and then I saw Jim Fox turn on up on the Stillwater Tower. Then, through the spruces, I saw two lights to the NE, which were Wakely Mountain and Blue Mountain. I wasn’t sure of Blue because I hadn’t seen that before, but I saw green strobe lights and Forest Ranger Jason Scott said he had a strobe light going so I knew it was Blue. Owls Head Tower was lit up for the first time, but I don’t think I could see that one, as it is a solid tall wall of spruce in that direction. To the east, I saw Snowy a couple years ago, but no one was there this year. Last year, Forest Ranger Melissa Milano went up on Pillsbury, only to be shrouded in fog when she got there.  I haven’t located it in the daylight yet, but I’m sure I can see it from Woodhull. Never too old to have a little fun in the dark!

There were a couple end of the year fireworks displays that were clearly visible from the tower. One on the north shore of the Fulton Chain right under the Rondaxe Tower and a little later a long show over at Bisby Lodge. First you would see the lights and about two seconds later you would hear the boom. I did hear a couple Loons calling  in response to the fireworks booms; one to the north, maybe at Rock Lake or Nick’s Lake, and one to the south on Woodhull Lake.

Earlier in the day, Ted Hicks and I went up the Stillwater to band hummers. We got there about seven thirty and took down most of Marian’s feeders and put up the hummingbird trap with a feeder inside. Only just got it up and started catching birds. I think we had about eight before anyone arrived, including one double catch. Then some people arrived and got to hold a bird. A friend, Beth Smisloff, came first and got to hold a couple birds; one flew instantly away and the other stayed for a picture or two. My neighbor at Limekiln, Susan Pluff, came with her children and a friend with kids. Some got to hold a bird, as I caught a few and another double in the last hour of banding. There were probably about twenty hummers still around the feeders and we caught 15 of these plus one recapture from the day for 16 birds. We did get a recapture from last year: 8/29, a female. We got no adult males, as they have left the area. We did catch four juvenile females and four juvenile males hatched this year. The other birds were adult females, which haven’t left yet or may have come in from the north on their way south. Ted was explaining to the group how to tell the juvenile males from females by the steaking on their necks and some males had a red feather or two showing. The males take a smaller band than the females and he must cut them down to fit, glasses needed to do that. 

Many other birds traveling through, but that’s another story. See ya.

 Photo Above: Ted handing off a hummer

tower lightingfrom Stillwater
Tower lighting from Stillwater showing Rondaxe and Woodhull Lights

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