Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee – Vol. 17
It’s been a busy week, packing more than one adventure into a few days, then resting up for more on the other days. Plus, there was one whole day of rain where I recorded nearly three inches. Someone asked me at the beginning of the week if the swamps were full, so it could snow any day, as it’s been so dry. After that three inches of rain, they have some water.
The monarchs sure are hatching, as I have seen them flying by everywhere I went this week. While I was fishing out on Lake Champlain, they were flying by and at the Inlet flag ceremony, Saturday, four flew by going west. I’ve tagged another ten or more this week, sent them on their way, and have over fifty in chrysalises just waiting to pop out.
I would like to thank the group of litter pickers, who worked from Eagle Bay to the Rocky Mountain Parking lot along Route 28, just before the weekend, making much prettier scenery to look at. I come home with a bag of trash nearly every day, no matter where I travel. This shouldn’t have to be, but I guess its just a fact of life today.
The group of twenty NYS Firefighters, Forest Rangers and volunteers that went west to fight forest fires in the northwest should be coming home this week. They just announced today that a team of 28 would be traveling to help out down south, when Hurricane Dorian decides where it’s going to go. I wouldn’t want to own any real estate along the east coast this week, as it looks like most of it will get hit somewhere along the path of this big storm. Going slowly over the warm waters of the Caribbean, it has picked up strength to a category 5 hurricane with winds up to 170 miles an hour. That would surely blow your roof off, no matter what it’s made of.
It has been a couple weeks now, but I would like to thank Bob Zimmerman for saving the loon tangled in fishing line on First Lake. It was first reported by the dam in Old Forge Pond but made its way up the channel to the beach on First Lake. This is where Bob captured it and, with some help, cut off the line, which was wrapped around its head and wing with a nice lure dragging behind. It went away quite happy to be free of the line, which would have killed the bird in a couple days because it couldn’t eat. Thanks again, Bob.
Another loon incident that happened this week was that one of the loon pair with chicks on Moss Lake came upon a red plastic cup floating on the lake. Photographer Stephen Barnum happened to be close by when the adult loon attacked this cup like it was going to break it apart and feed it to the chicks. You just never know what you might see while viewing nature these days.
I got out jig fishing for sheep head on Lake Champlain with Cal George and we caught a few. Cal got the biggest one, which was a little over fifteen pounds. We also got some perch, a walleye and a smallmouth bass. You just never know what you might catch there, but when you hooked the sheep head, you’re in for a fight. Later that day, I went for a canoe trip down the LaChute River in Ticonderoga with Ellie George. We saw lots of neat birds, including: black vulture, little green herons, osprey, kingfishers, mallard and wood ducks, sea gulls, green wing teal, bald eagles, great blue herons, one great egret, red-winged blackbirds, cedar waxwings, phoebes, wood pewees, least flycatchers, a downy woodpecker, chickadees, Carolina wrens, a pair of blue gray gnatcatchers, blue jays, and, best of all, eight Wilson’s snipe, that dive bombed us in the cattails when Ellie played their distress call. We saw a nice 10-point buck with a doe, not far from the river, and four beavers were out for their nighttime feeding as we came back up the river. All of them had to slap their tails to warn others we were there. A new critter for me were map turtles, which dropped off many of the floating logs along the river. There were many small ones, five to six inches long. Out where the river went into Lake Champlain, there were several bigger ones, ten to twelve inches on one log.
I got up to the Stillwater Restaurant to band hummers with Ted Hicks Saturday morning. There were only ten to twelve around and we caught eight of these. Four others escaped the trap, the first being an adult male, which we never saw again. At one time, we had over twenty visitors watching the banding process and some got to hold a bird. One of the eight was banded there in May, six were females and one juvenile male. These birds are definitely on the move south.
Lighting the fire towers on the 31st , but that’s another story. See ya.
Little green heron taken by Ellie George
Loon versus a red cup - photos by Stephen Barnum