Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 184

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Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 184

We had a trickle of winter white, but we could use more. I believe the ground got frozen as we had a few nights around twenty before this little snowfall. Some loons forgot to leave and three were frozen in First Lake yesterday. Two flew out during the day and I have not heard about the other one. There were a couple Bald Eagles keeping watch and waiting for a snack. 

Please remind your children to stay off the ice until we have some really cold weather to make it safe. This on and off warm then cold weather hasn’t made the ice safe yet, so stay off as a fall through the ice can be life threatening. 

I’m sure you have heard that a week ago Friday there was a graduation of the 38 New York State Forest Rangers to the force after completing six months training at the 23rd basic academy just for Forest Rangers. Training part of the time at ESF’s Wanakena Ranger School and part of the time at ESF’s Newcomb Facility. Other venues in the state were used in training white water rescue, defensive driving training and gun training by Forest Rangers and other state agencies. All these Forest Rangers were sworn as Police Officers of the State of New York. The ceremony was held at the Lake Placid Ice rink facility where the Miracle on Ice happened at the 1980 Olympics when the USA Men’s Ice Hockey team beat the Russian Hockey team. The graduates got to watch the video of the game as it compared to what they and their instructors have accomplished for the Forest Ranger Force. DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos gave a nice congratulation speech to the graduates as did DEC Division Director of Forest Protection John Solan. I don’t believe any of the graduates were even born when the Miracle on Ice happened, but they could surely compare their experience to that event. It was nice to have the leadership of the force make this comparison and make it happen where this event happened, congratulations all!

This brings the Forest Ranger force up to 159 statewide, the most ever. Many will be assigned to the Adirondack and Catskill Park areas. Local Evan R. Nahor was one of the graduates and he was assigned to the Saratoga Springs Area and he will be living in my hometown of Ballston Spa. 

Somewhat different than when I became a Forest Ranger in August of 1965. My District Ranger Donald Decker gave me a badge, a stipulation book and handshake at the Northville Office. This just before I went up to Speculator and put my family, wife Karen and five-month-old daughter Erin, and dog and cat on a seaplane and flew into the interior West Canada Lake Ranger Headquarters. That started a 34-year career of on-the-job training by other Forest Rangers. 

Missed another full moon as the rain clouds blocked any sight of the moon. The next night the sky was very clear, and the stars and the moon were beautiful. By the calendar, winter begins next week Wednesday, the 21st, and it looks like we might even have some winter by that time, but you never know with the screwy weather that everyone has been having. 

The Evening Grosbeaks are still coming to the feeders in big numbers and some other folks in the area are also reporting them. I’ve banded another thirty so some of them must be going further south as I’ve only had one returned bird. I did have one hit a window and I revived him, and he went on his way. I did have another Tufted Titmouse show up and it is now wearing a band and will probably stay the winter. 

I came out of the Post Office one day this week and I heard some birds calling very faintly. I finally located them in the big pine tree by the town parking area. They were waxwings, but I couldn’t tell which kind. I thought they were Bohemian Waxwings from their song, but I wasn’t sure. They were all diving down in front of Tony Harpers and feeding on the fruit of a crab apple tree there. It was pouring rain, so I got my binoculars and got on the porch of the restaurant out of the rain. Sure, enough they were beautiful Bohemian Waxwings, and it was only the second time I had ever seen them in Hamilton County. I rushed home and got my camera and big lens. They were still feeding on the fruit when I came back, and I got several nice photos of these beautiful birds. They stripped that tree of its fruit, and they also ate what fell on the ground before it got dark. 

This will be my Great Granddaughter Milly’s first Christmas and she is getting ready to celebrate, but that’s another story. See ya. 

Photo Above: Graduating Forest Rangers by John Strieff

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Bohemian Waxwing by me


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