Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 32
Well, winter has come and gone two times this week as temperatures went from minus single digits to highs in the forties near fifty degrees. This must have wildlife wondering if we are going to have winter or go back to spring already. We got past the full moon on Thursday and then the dreaded Friday the 13th just the next day. I reminded some people in the elevator at the hospital that it was Friday the 13th and they said “I didn’t know.” Too busy, I guess, or they don’t pay attention to things like that, the full moon or Friday the 13th being such a big thing. This week the First Day of Winter passes us by on the 21st and the days get longer.
As long as I mentioned the hospital, I better explain that Karen went in to get her heart put back in rhythm, and that went okay, but she had to stay overnight with no Christmas shopping getting done. I hope everyone has gotten their shopping done and the tree is up and all that out of the way so you can just enjoy the day. As for shopping, the gift shop at View has some great gifts so give it a look see as you visit the many other shops locally.
I send in many photos the NCPR’s Photo of the Day which comes out daily with both local and national news briefs. Dale Hobson picks out a photo each day and a few locals other than me have had their photos as Photo of the Day. From these photos Dale put together a calendar the 2020 and one of my photos was part of it: Snow on the Tamaracks on Bald Mountain Pond for November. They just had an opening show, Views of the North Country of the Photo of the Day photos at St. Lawrence University’s Richard F. Brush Gallery and they hope to move the show around the Adirondacks for others to see the great photos that didn’t make the calendar.
Many of my photos are things that I see as I’m out and about with a camera in my pocket or pack, no matter where I go. Just this week, as the rains took away much of the snow, things appeared that were hidden under the snow. Many of these things are protected by the snow from freezing and now they are exposed. They may get set back or they must come up from energy stored in their root system. This happens to the pitcher plants in the bogs, which turn red in the fall like many of the fall leaves and remain that color all winter. When they get exposed and freeze, it may kill these leaves and the plant must start all over again in the spring. I’ve seen this happen a few times, when they have been frozen for a long time. If it’s a quick freeze and then they get snowed on again, the plant sometimes makes it.
This happens to many of the ferns that remain green under the snow all winter also. These ferns are a source of food for many animals, including the deer.
I did hear of a bear out last week, which had farmed like a pig looking for beech nuts under the snow, working about an acre of ground. Then it chewed off a few spruce bows and made a bed to lay on and must have taken a nap. It then woke up, worked some more acreage for nuts, and moved on, probably looking for a denning spot.
Some of the birds used these winter breaks to move south and others just moved to the feeders available. Locally, a few special birds are being seen at some feeders: a pair of cardinals on the South Shore Road, tufted titmouse here at Eight Acre Wood along with about thirty American goldfinch and the Carolina wren on the back streets of Old Forge. Other stragglers may show up when winter gets tougher and the supply of wild food runs out.
Just yesterday there was a flock of forty crows in the trees watching the Shoot Out as I was photographing it from the far end of the track. They had some snow, but the crowd was a little thin, possibly because there wasn’t enough snow to run the trails, so many enthusiasts stayed home. The change of the day may also have caused some not to make it. The time runs went on and I only heard a few of the results, as the sleds that had just run the course were turning around in front of me and I couldn’t hear their times. I did hear several sleds running in the high ninety miles per hour range and one of the turbos, the Artic Cat Thundercat, had the fast time 8.835 seconds and a speed of 108.6 MPH. Most of the sleds were off the ground at the start in my photos, before racing down the timed track.
You never know what you might see while you are out and about, but that’s another story. See ya and have a safe and Merry Christmas.
Exposed Common Polypody