Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 205


Writing this from the Ticonderoga Library, a really nice Library, only open Tuesday through Saturday. I'm at the Crown Point Banding Station for a couple weeks trying to catch migrating birds coming from the south to their homes in the north and some right at and around the station itself. We've had lots of visitors in the four days we have been open, both people and birds. We thought we might have missed the migrants with all the warm weather we had earlier in the year but not so. They had their own schedule and they are keeping to it. Just before I left home on Friday 5/5 I set the Potter traps as I had lots of birds around the feeders. As I was packing the truck I caught a few more Evening Grosbeaks, Juncos, Song Sparrow, Common Grackle and Black Capped Chickadees. 

The trip over to Crown Point as its like going through three time zones or four. Starting out, the leaves around Eight Acre Wood were just coming out and it stayed that way almost to Newcomb. Then we got in the still winter zone with some snow along the road shoulders and not much showing with tree leaves. Then going down off the mountain on the Blue Ridge Road the green leaves coming out appeared almost instantly. Then passing the North River, headed east toward Port Henry it went into the no leaf zone again as I gained elevation, with some snow along the highway and around parking lots. I stopped to photograph the Blue Ridge Falls as I had never seen it that high before. Then I again stopped at the Hammond Pond Trailhead Parking Lot. I had gone in that trail to fish a trout pond years ago and right at the register box the forest floor was covered with white blooming hepatica. This day it was again in full bloom with hundreds of plants all through the woods among the turkey scratchings. I got back years ago and got some seeds from these plants and I now have it in my flower garden but only a few plants. Leaving that spot and coming down off the hill into Port Henry it was a new world with the tree leaves out on everything and many of the flowering trees and shrubs all in bloom. At the banding site the Hawthornes leaves were coming out and some even had little green worms which attract the traveling migrants.

I got to Crown Point a little afternoon and the tents and canopies were all put up by some very nice volunteers. I said this is a bird banding station, let's get some nets up and it wasn't long and we were in action. Many of the volunteers weren't banders but watched as were caught and banded some birds that were already on site. Someone mention that there were over 100 Blue Jays in the parking lot area when they came in the morning and it wasn't long when they found our place and began hitting the nets and Potter traps. Many left after a few birds but we caught Blue Jays up until dark with a total of 52 that day. We got a few White Throated Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Robins and Black Capped Chickadees some may have been moving through and others may even be on eggs already. 

That night I got my new mattress inflated and I was ready for bed after hotdogs for quick supper. It was a cold night, nearly a frost, but not quite. The onsite crew of Ted Hicks and Tom Barber had the nets up before I got out of the tent the next morning and we caught a few birds but it was slow, so we all had time to catch up on what had happened in our lives in the past year. Gorgon Howard goes home nightly and washes out our holding bird bags and returns the next day with clean ones which is a great help. Saturday the fort had some special events as it was clean up the Parks Day in New York State. Many of those visitors and helpers came over to watch us band and some got to hold a bird. Many birds were flying over and around the station and getting seen and heard, which we recorded for the two weeks while we were here. We had steak for supper and went to bed early after watching a beautiful full moon. 

Beautiful sunrise the next morning and we were catching right away and we had a couple groups who got the full history of the station and all the information about our birds. Most of them got to hold a bird as the Jays were hitting the nets at that time. We did catch four Tufted Titmouse which must be close to the record for our two weeks there in other years. The Ospreys are on the nest platform down front and one of our volunteers found one of the shells from an Osprey egg so there must be babies in the nest.  

Sunday was slow with not many birds and lots of visitors so there were many stories told that day, some truthful and some not. It was a beautiful day and even got in a nap. We did catch a pretty Palm Warbler as we were picking up that night looking for better things to come yet. As I was laying in my bed I could hear birds landing in the trees over the tent so I knew the next day might be exciting. and it was. Those 200 Blue Jays decided we had some food they needed before they traveled north and many of them dropped in. We captured 72 that day and many more dropped in, hit the nets and got back out before they were in hand. We had a few warblers hit the nets Yellow Rumped, Black and White and a few House Wrens, both Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers. There was a Yellow Shafter Flicker with some red feathers in the tail and wings in there somewhere. 

Black Capped Chickadees started hitting the nets late in the day which continued into this morning big time but that will have to be another story next week. See ya. 



Return To All News

Post your comment


No one has commented on this page yet.

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments