Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 156


Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 156

Maybe the black flies have taken it in the shorts with all the hot days we’ve had.  I put in the garden over the weekend and not once did they take the hoe out of my hand. I did have a few deer flies that wanted to help me, as well as some mosquitoes and noseeums that were trying to help. This is the third year that deer flies have come out before the first of June. Normally, they never boomed me until the beginning of July. When they come out it usually means the end of black flies. Hopefully all 36 varieties hatched out together on those hot days that warmed up the streams they hatch out of. Some of the intermittent streams that had eggs may not have even been flowing, which did them in; one can only hope.

I have a pair of Phoebes nesting under my porch. It has only taken them 22 years to find that place to nest. I put up a couple small boards under the front porch roof and Robins found that spot a couple of years ago and raised a family. They are back, but nesting in a spruce tree along the driveway. They protect that nest site when the Grackles come to the feeder and get boomed.

No sign of bears here yet, but I did hear of a big bear along the South Shore Road getting some bird feeders and cleaning out a pile of aging leftovers. This time of the year, they work the new growth on aspens, as I find broken branches in the Mitchell Pond Trail under these trees. Ants work these leaves, and the bears get both veggies and protein from the top of the tree. They also eat grasses and pond weeds this time of the year. 

There were lots of people visiting over the weekend. Some may have gotten wet setting up on Friday, as we got three quarters of an inch of rain. Talking to Terry Perkins while hummer banding Sunday, he said they got three inches as that storm system passed through. The docks at the Stillwater Reservoir were floating extremely high on the water. 

The Hummingbird Banding went well on Sunday, with lots of visitors who got to hold and release one. There were about twenty people waiting for Ted Hicks, the hummer bander, and me when we arrived at 7:30am at Stillwater. It didn’t take too long to set up the trap and take down most of Marian’s feeders so the birds would come into the trap. First catch was three and second catch was four of the little birds, which kept Ted busy as he banded and told the new visitors about the birds. He caught up and it was very steady until about ten and then it was a hit and miss in the trap, as some had learned the system. We ended up with fifty-six new birds and four recaptures, two from last year, one from two years ago, and then an eye-opener: we got one from 2014, which made that bird nine years old as it was an after hatch year when caught in August of that year. The longevity record for a Ruby Throated Hummingbird is 9 years 2 months, so we could break that if we catch that bird again later this year. Some western hummers have been banded and re-caught at an age of twelve years. 

That rain popped out a few new wildflowers, my yellow lady slippers are looking great again this year. They have been blooming now for over twenty years, as I planted them before the house was built, along the driveway on a pile of dirt left over from putting in the underground power line and they love it. I do protect them from the deer, as they seem to like to just pick them and leave them on the ground. I have seen a few pink lady slippers out in various places. My may apples have added a few new plants and last year the chipmunks ate all the fruit, so I don’t know where the seeds came from. Maybe they came from seeds from previous years. 

The Loons have already set up territories and some are already on a nest. If you see a loon on a nest, back off, as there are many predators just waiting to snatch an egg when the parents are off the nest. 

These sunny days are great for the butterflies, but that’s another story. See ya.

Above photo: Yellow lady slippers

Banding Hummers at Stillwater


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  • Betty Anne Riley 03/06/2022 7:14pm (8 months ago)

    Beautiful lady slippers!!!!

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