Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 145
Winter keeps hanging on with a little more snow and cold weather giving the snowmobilers and skiers another weekend to do their thing. The x-country skiing was the best all winter with enough powder on top of the crust you could just about anywhere and still have control. The couple of warmer days before the snowstorm encouraged a few birds to move north. As I went out to move the new fallen snow on Saturday, I heard a Robin and had two Grackles at the feeder. A few others that I contacted had Redwing Blackbirds and then on Sunday I had a Song Sparrow feeding among over one hundred mixed flock of Purple Finch, American Goldfinch, Pine Siskins and one lonely Common Redpoll. That same day over at Ferd’s Bog I had a flock of 100 Snow Geese flying west into the wind going low overhead. I picked up another male Red Crossbill in the Parkhurst Road Sunday so I don’t think that pair will have any young with no one to feed the female on the nest. There may be only three cars that travel that road a day and I’ve picked up five dead crossbills there in two weeks. I also saw a Raven flying down the road with a Crossbill in its beak, so I don’t find them all.
You won’t get to read this before the Full Worm Moon (Ojibew) Southern Native Americans, named for the time worms come up through the unfrozen ground, which is on Friday night. Other names for this month’s full moon are Sugar Moon which marks the time the sugar maple sap starts to flow. Wind Strong Moon (Pueblo) refers to the strong winds that blow this time of the year. Another is the Sore Eyes Moon (Dakota, Lakota, Assiniboine) highlights the blinding rays of the sunlight that reflect off the melting snow of late winter. Amazing what you can find on the internet. It should be a beauty if we get to see it in the eastern sky a little after dusk.
In the morning sky you can surely see Venus, the brightest light in the eastern sky in the morning before sunrise. Two other bright lights just below there are Mars and Saturn and just before sunrise you might get a peak at Jupiter just above the horizon. Each clear morning, I get to see Venus right out my bedroom window, but I’ll have to go over to Seventh Lake Bridge to catch these others as all the trees in my woods keep me from seeing them.
Another big thing happening this week is the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Old Forge which is always a hoot. Parade Grand Marshall are the Deis family. Line up at the Pancake House is at 4:45 and the parade starts at five, some floats, dog walkers, snowplow operators, maybe a bagpiper and a leprechaun of course. It's all in good fun after a two year lay off for covid.
My bird net was frozen like a rope, so I thawed it out in the cellar and put it up for only the second time this winter today. There were over one hundred birds working all the feeders and I caught a few of them. First bird I caught and banded was the Song Sparrow I mentioned earlier. Then I got some American Goldfinch, Purple Finch and Black Capped Chickadees. I did catch two female Downey Woodpeckers who were in a chase and then one new Blue Jay. I did get some returns, one Chickadee that had a warn band and I thought it might have been the old one 11 years 9 months that I recaptured last March but it was only banded three years ago in September of 2019. The old one is the oldest Black Capped Chickadee in the United States ever recorded and it may still be around, as I caught it on March 23 last year. The male Goldfinch are starting to get some black feathers on the top of their heads and the wings bars are turning a bright yellow.
Got all the clocks turned ahead, which seems a bit early, but it sure extends the daylight time until after six. My birds normally went to bed at about four and I wouldn’t see them until daylight the next morning but last night some were still taking seeds just before six.
The DEC outdoor burning ban starts on March 16 and runs to May 18. It has prevented many spring wildfires in the state since it started a few years ago.
The Inlet Mighty Loons hockey team went to the Aud to play a scrimmage, but that’s another story. See ya.
Above image: Birds under feeders
Snowshoe hike across Ferd’s Bog