Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 128
It got a tad nippy this week on several mornings with the temperature below twenty here at Eight Acre Wood. It put a skim of ice on the pond three mornings, but was gone by afternoon when the trout wanted to eat. The water has cooled down and they aren’t as active as they had been. Some of the brook trout were jumping to loosen their eggs and looking for a place to spawn. I have some gravel up at the inlet, but they have never used it to my knowledge. They have been looking around the little stream that comes down by the house as it has been running after all the rain we’ve had.
A few new birds came to the feeders for a snack and moved on. There were some good sightings over on Lake Champlain by the Crown Point Bridge. Stacy Robinson, who lives near there, visits often as with this big water right in her front yard you just never know what you are going to see. She thought she had seen a Razorbill, but couldn’t confirm it one day during the week. Then another day, she had several Brant on the beach and in the water. She normally misses these as they fly over during the night hours and she just hears them go over in the dark, so the sightings were special. Then early Saturday morning she had sighted a Northern Gannet flying around and diving for fish right in front of the fort. She called others, but it disappeared into the fog before they came. She left, but she didn’t get to far down the road when she got a call that a Razorbill was on the water right in front of the fort. She zoomed back and got good looks at it and the Northern Gannet reappeared and flew south over the bridge into Vermont waters. Several in the crowd that had gathered took some great photos of both birds from both the New York side and the Vermont side of the lake. Two great seabirds in an hour; what a wonderful day of birding. The Gannet had been seen in other years, but the Razorbill was a first for Essex County.
The next day she was birding at Westport and she saw two weirdly marked Canada Geese, which were identified as Quill Lake Geese. Connor, who she was birding with, had worked on waterfowl in PA and South Carolina and knew of these Geese, but had never seen them. In Saskatchewan (Quill Lake in particular), there is a big population of these geese with white belly bands (often described as bikini bottoms), white up undersides of their necks, and calico-colored feet. As she said, you just never know what you might find out there.
More in the birding world, Master Bander Gordon Howard, who lives to band birds, winters in South Carolina and got notice that one of his banded Purple Finch was found dead in Nova Scotia. He banded this bird last winter and it traveled north to breed, and it was found a distance of 1425 air miles from Seneca, SC. He banded this bird on 4/1/21 and it was found on 7/15/21, three months 14 days, 105 days in Trout Brook, NS about as far east in NS as a bird can go. This locale has been documented as one of the prime breeding sites for Purple Finch on Cape Breton Island.
In other happenings, the Webster Marching Band blew away the competition at this year’s state championships, held at the Carrier Dome, earning the title of State Champion of the Large School 2 Division. It’s the first time the band has held the state title in more than 30 years. They competed against eight other schools in their LS2 division, who attended from all over the state. At the end of the day, only 11 points separated the nine schools, but Webster stood alone at the top, with a score of 90.8 points, a full 1.7 points ahead of second-place West Seneca.
The Webster Marching Band, now in its 36th season, is made up of 66 students, musicians and performers drawn from all four Webster secondary schools: Spry Middle School, Willink Middle School, Webster Schroeder High School, and Webster Thomas High School. In scoring, breaking the 90 point barrier was a fitting end to an outstanding season. Band Director Jerbrel Bowens, himself a Webster grad and former Marching Band member, wrote the winning program, called “Unbroken.” This taken with permission from an article written by Missy Rosenberry.
The reason I mention this is that our grandson Nathan Lee is the tuba player in the band, and we are enormously proud of him and all the marching band members in winning this state championship.
The time has changed so we get a little more morning light, but that’s another story. See ya.
Above Photo: Quill Lake Goose by Stacy Robinson
Razorbill by Ethan Rising,
Webster Marching Band Award