Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 194

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More spring weather this week temperature up to 51 on Wednesday and I had a Red Wing Blackbird at the feeder. Then it was up to 49 on Thursday with some rain and snow late in the day. Friday, I went to Utica and the temperature was 35 all the way down with wet snow falling. Got my truck serviced and headed home and it was still 35 degrees there but went down to 22 by the time I hit Old Forge but no rain or snow, then just a trace overnight but the temperature zipped down to ten. That brought the Evening Grosbeaks into the feeder that morning and I banded eight before we went to the Chili Bowl at View. 

That was a crowd and I had to park across the street. Lots of beautiful bowls and we picked out three and got in line to pay for the bowls and some chili. We found a table right up front close to the chili action which went on until I heard they ran out. Many tried more than one variety, me I stuck with the mac and cheese and the mild chili which was very good. Saw lots of new people and visited with many others, some who had never been to this event before. Lots of good desserts also and I even won a poster in the raffle that went on all afternoon. The tables were full most of the time and some still coming in as we left at two. I hope they got some chili. If you missed getting a bowl, I’m sure you could find one if you asked at the desk and you might get a membership while your there so you can enjoy all the programs at View.

I mentioned the train wreck in East Palestine, Ohio which was getting very little press at that time even with all the dangerous chemicals that were spilled and some burning on site. Since that time, I’ve seen it on several news programs and people in that area are getting some of their concerns answered. The train company Norfolk Southern has paid out over 1.5 million to about 1,000 families who were displaced by the wreck $1,000 each. Vinyl chloride was the dangerous substance that was in several of the derailed cars, and some burned on site putting dangerous chemicals into the air. Some of the runoff into neighboring streams killed the fish there. The company says that they have contained and collected most of that runoff that went into storm sewers. This of course is being questioned by residents who live in that area. The town says the public water supply was not affected. The EPA has been on the ground testing air, water and ground samples around the site. Some residents have come down with rashes and breathing symptoms from the air around the site. Vinyl chloride is used to make PVC. PVC is used to make plastic products, including pipes, wire and cable coatings and packaging material. It breaks down into hydrochloric acid, chloride and carbon dioxide in water and soil. 

While growing up in West Milton near Ballston Spa the Federal Government bought several farms west of where we lived, 1954 and built the Atomic Project which was a large metal ball filled with water that had an atomic submarine inside where the navy trained sailors. They used water from the Glowegee Creek which ran right by the ball to fill the ball and they also used the water to cool the heat produced inside the ball, so I was told. One day in 1956 someone turned the wrong valve, and they dumped a large amount of Hydrochloric Acid directly into the creek. My dad took water samples daily from the creek to be tested for pollutants for the federal government. Somehow, we heard about the spill and went down to the creek which was just down the road from our house. Dead fish were floating everywhere, and larger fish were nearly stripped of their skin and trying to swim. We netted several large brown trout that were half dead before we were kicked out of the stream. The stream ran through the Lewis Farm where their cows drank the water, but we never heard about any problems with the cows. This was about four miles downstream from the discharge, so it was getting diluted as it came that distance. The fish kill ended as it went through the farm property and never reached where the Glowegee ran into the Kayaderosseras Creek a mile downstream. The government restocked the stream with trout, but other bait fish and suckers took a long time to repopulate the stream. I’m sure some birds and animals that ate the fish that died from the acid also died but that was never checked on that I know of.   

This weekend was the Big Backyard Bird Count 17-20, and you could count the birds at your feeder or take a hike on a trail somewhere and count the birds you hear and see while on the hike. You can send in these reports to E-bird and add to the totals around the world. I had ten new red wing blackbirds show up on Sunday, so they made the count. Early for them to come north but with this weather you never know what you might see out there. 

Maybe winter will return for Inlet’s Frozen Fire and Lights this weekend but that’s another story. See ya. 

Photo above: Chili bowl

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Red wing blackbird 


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