Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 157

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Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 157

With the shooting in the Buffalo Tops Market, Killing 10 and wounding three, and Uvalde’s
Texas Robb Elementary School shooting, killing 19 children and two teachers, not much was heard of the fires still burning in New Mexico, its largest ever, and the first Hurricane, Agatha, to hit Mexico first, killing 11 with thirty missing, then traveling across the Gulf of Mexico and hitting southern Florida with 12 to 15 inches of rain as Tropical Storm Alex. Many people seem to be living in a bubble while ducking Covid, which is still catching lots of people by surprise.

Back to the first two on the list, as I was a Hunter Safety Training Trainor for DEC for over twenty five years and it was only near the end of that the AR-15 was just showing up on the public market and I never saw it as a hunting weapon and still don’t; it’s a killing machine invented for war, which is now being waged on children in schools and public events and places where there are lots of people. Near the end of my thirty-five year career as a Forest Ranger. As a peace officer, I did carry a sidearm which carried thirteen rounds and a clip on my belt with twelve more rounds, which was no match for an AR-15 which can hold one hundred rounds or more and be shot in a few seconds. I did wear body armor but so do some of the people who have committed these horrendous shooting sprees. I have been a hunter since I could carry a gun, shooting rats at the dump behind the house with my trusty twenty-two (which I still have), then hunting small game, birds, and animals as I grew up as we were a hunting family. Then big game deer and bear as I got older and moved on to Elk and mule deer when I got the chance, hunting ethically. I did join the NRA for a short period, but left them when they were going in a different direction than hunters. 

Now the NRA and Trump still say the best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Well, at some of the mass shootings, there was a guy with a gun and he and his handgun got taken out quickly, as he was out gunned by a guy with an AR-15. At the Robb Elementary School, there were several police officers with guns inside the school and yet the shooter was still shooting almost an hour after entering the school as children phoned 911 for help. This needs to stop as there are thousands of these military type guns out there, so the laws need to change and now. 

Back to the woods and all the beautiful wildflowers, birds, animals, and trees that are out there. Many of the places where I went looking at Loons, the shorelines of the lakes were lined pink with wild azaleas. These were a buzz with bees and hummers working the flowers. Normally I see a hummingbird moth working these, but not this year. The yellow swallowtail butterflies and some small skippers were pollinating the flowers. In many places where I had to walk through the woods, I saw pink ladyslippers and other wildflowers. Just today, 6/7, I saw four different loons on a nest, which was a great day. Let us hope the rains that are coming the next few days aren't like the ones they got down south, or these nests will be underwater. If you are out and about on the water and come upon a nesting Loon on the shoreline back off and if you need to take photos, take them from a distance. Many times, you will not even see a sitting Loon as they go into the hangover position with their beak nearly in the water as they try to hide from your passing. If they do get off the nest, you should leave the area so she or he can get back on the nest and protect the eggs from predators. They must sit on those eggs for twenty-seven days and both the male and female do sitting chores. 

Many of the Loons came back early this year and have gotten on nests sooner than normal, which means there will be chicks on the water earlier than normal. Most chicks come off the nests in late June and early July unless they lose their first nest. Some Loons on bigger lakes will usually renest not long after they lose the first nest, but in a new location as the first spot failed. If loons have a successful nest one year, they will usually use the same spot the next year. 

While I was out and about, I found a Rusty Blackbird nest spot as the pair got upset when I was near the nesting area. This is the first time in several years that I found a pair of Rusty Blackbirds nesting. Years ago, there were little colonies of them nesting along some boggy brooks in this area and then they just went off the radar, so it was nice to see a pair here again. 

Fawns are being born, so watch out for them crossing the highway, but that’s another story. See ya.

Photo Above: Wild azalea

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Rusty Blackbirds

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  • EllieConnick 18/06/2022 8:19pm (6 months ago)

    Gary: My wild azaleas have a fungus and plenty of the bulbous thick juice filled growths. I notice my neighbor’s are also infected. I did snip as many as I could and bag them . There were at least 50 and more show up daily. They bloomed despite the fungus. Do you know anything to share about this. Thanks. Ellie

  • Pam L 12/06/2022 3:16pm (6 months ago)

    That’s OK, Terry! Everything you said bears repeating!

  • Terry Saunders Lane 12/06/2022 1:02pm (6 months ago)

    Sorry! Not sure why my comment appears multiple times.

  • Terry Saunders Lane 12/06/2022 12:52pm (6 months ago)

    Thank you so much for your comments about the terrible consequences of AR-15 ownership and their role in gun massacres. We need more voices like yours - people who are hunters, know about guns and live in rural areas.

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