Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 203

spring beauty

There was a bit of a cool down this week with several mornings in the 20’s after a week in the much higher temperatures and mother nature even threw in an inch of snow one morning. Then at the end of the week it was up in the high seventies again. Then the skies opened last night with a downpouring of rain and that lasted most of today. We had well over an inch and a half just looking at my little creek that goes under the driveway. The culvert on the ski trail was partially plugged and the water was running down along the trail and into my pond until I cleaned out the culvert. The pond was getting enough water from the spring creek that runs into it and it was up about a foot.

The peepers were quite a nice chorus last night just as the rain started. It is the first ones I’ve heard. I was over at the golf course repairing bluebird houses and putting up a few more and I didn’t hear any over there yet. I did see a Red Shouldered Hawk looking for frogs a couple of times so I’m sure they are nesting not far away. If they do it will be the first ones in this area. I did have one on my trail camera on the dam at the end of March so this one might be taking up residence on the golf course. They are good frog, snake and mouse catchers. 

The big thing that happened today was the 3.9 earthquake at 2:10 PM near Adams south of Watertown which was felt from Rochester to Albany and north to the Canadian border. I was standing in the bedroom watching birds and felt it. Oliver got out of his bed and came trotting in like what was that. It is funny how animals can feel things like that and know it is not something normal. No reports of damage but close by there could be some cracked cellar walls and things that fell off shelves. I was going to call 911 but I’m sure others did as it could have been an explosion nearby and if it was the fire siren would have gone off and it didn’t. A couple of people called to tell me it was an earthquake and they felt it. There was another 2.6 earthquake in that same area just a week ago on 4/14. I was out and about that day and never felt that one. 

The birds at the feeders shut down for a few minutes probably trying to figure out what had happened and then the mobs returned. I still have a big flock of Evening Grosbeaks 40 to 45, an even bigger flock of Common Grackles 50 or more as they are harder to count as many of them are feeding in the woods not far away and not on the feeders. Mixed in with them are a few Starlings, fifteen or twenty Red Wing Blackbirds and some Brown Headed Cowbirds. The rain made a swimming pool under the feeders until I drained the water away. Some were using it to take a bath. The new birds on Saturday were two Chipping Sparrows. On the exact same date in 2020 I had and banded two Chipping Sparrows. I haven’t gotten close enough looks with the binoculars at these birds to see if they are banded. A third one joined them today as they fed under the dropping from the suet cakes. The two Red Breasted Nuthatches fed in the same spot, and they tolerated each other while feeding. 

Karen and I took a trip down to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca on Friday with some road killed and window hit birds. They love to see me come as they don’t get many Adirondack bird specimens. I had several Red Crossbills and one White Winged Crossbill from car hits last winter and a few Evening Grosbeaks from this year. Other car hits were Barred Owls, Broad Wing Hawks, a Red Shouldered Hawk and a Raven. There were a few other songbirds and two Ruby Throated Hummingbirds. They take the skins from these birds and pin them up for collection purposes. A junior student was working on a bird while I was there, and they had several different birds all done on the table next to me. It was 89 when we got back in the car for the ride home. The trees down that way were mostly green and many of the flowering trees and shrubs were all in bloom. One tulip tree was just covered with blossoms. 

Locally I saw wild oats, spring beauty and a big patch of colt’s foot all in bloom yesterday as temperatures reached into the sixties again. More should be popping through the leaf cover this week.

DOT was doing some major litter picking as we traveled to Ithaca. We will be soon as Wednesday May 3rd is Community Pride Day when many of the area highways and beaches get cleaned up but that’s another story. See ya.

Photo above: Spring beauty

Relaxed Oliver


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