Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 44
A couple days in the fifties and near sixty, along with some rain, a thunderstorm, fog and plenty of wind, sure cut down the snowpack. There is a ban on outdoor burning and a couple of fires in the southern tier burned a few hundred acres and one burned several cars in a parking area.
The sap is running, and my neighbor Eric is doing quite well with his new sugar house and burning more wood than he thought he would. He’s getting some nice light-colored maple syrup, something positive after a long wait.
Some of my crocuses came out for the first day of spring and a few more were out this morning, 3/22, even though it was only five degrees; they are tough plants. Some of my daffodils and hyacinths are pushing up also, but no blooms there yet.
A few more new birds moved north with the south winds: Common Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds and Robins. They were singing up a storm this morning, I guess just to keep warm, as they weren’t at the feeders. I did have five Bald Eagles (three juveniles and two adults) and one Golden Eagle on the pond this morning fending off the 16 Ravens that have been regulars. One of the juveniles is all brown in his first year and the other two have some white, so they are a little older. There is some competition for food, but there is plenty for everyone. Looking for a road killed deer, but with traffic down, that might not happen.
While checking traps one day I heard some Snow Geese calling way up high in a clear blue sky. They were up there where the jets fly when I finally found them. They look like a string of flying pearls with the sun on them in that deep blue sky. One flock had over one hundred and the other was over three hundred, all headed north. Canada Geese have been going over quite regular also and some are back on Old Forge Pond.
I have seen a few Red Crossbills eating grit in some of the side roads, but I haven’t found any nesting in any of my travels. I met a fella on the Moss Lake Trail who camped on the north shore the night before. He asked if I knew anything about birds, I said some. He tooted like a Saw Whet Owl and said that bird was around his campsite all night. In the morning, the Pileated Woodpeckers came right around his site, scolding him for being there, so they may be nesting nearby. We had a nice chat as he was out of work because of the virus. I didn’t go too far down the trail and ruffed Grouse was drumming on a log not far away. This is the third one I’ve heard this spring.
There are a lot of people out of work because of the virus and looking for some place to go. Many will be back soon, moving into their summer homes; some earlier than normal I’m sure. I met a few at the Limekiln Gate to the Moose River Area yesterday. I was cleaning out the little creek there that had washed out part of the parking lot during the rainstorm. Most were trying to drive into camp, but found the area blocked off and they had lots of questions. We kept our distance from each other. They wouldn’t have gotten very far down the road and their vehicles would have been buried in mud. Most said there is no snow in Rochester, but I said this isn’t Rochester.
If people are taking hikes on the local trails, they should be wearing some kind of traction devices on the boots and not on their sneakers. There are places in the woods where the snow is still more than a foot deep and walking in a foot of snow in sneakers won’t be to comfortable. The packed down trails have turned to ice and it’s a good place to twist or break an ankle, or even worse, a hip or leg. It doesn’t take much when you fall on ice.
The coronavirus is affecting everyone in some way or another and some much more than others. Now that there is a shut down in this state, many will be out of work and hurting financially, so help where you can, but keep your distance. Hope you’re all doing ok and keeping safe.
More birds to come as the weather warms up and the snowpack goes down, but that’s another story. See ya.