Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 46
Well, we got by April Fool’s Day without any tricks, except on the internet and that was of flying penguins which went around. I sent it to a few people who thought it was great. It’s one way to keep connected, or by phone with friends that might need a check on and have a short visit to let them know we are still in this world. With the coronavirus around, we don’t know just where, so it’s nice let others know you care about them.
It looks like we might get some snow this week, which started off with a good freeze at 20 degrees. That froze my pond over again. I didn’t see the ducks come in for a landing that morning, but if they did, they would have needed ice skates. It melted again during the day and the ice all went out with the wind and temperatures up in the fifties. Not Sanibel Island, but that will have to wait another year.
Karen and I have been taking walks each nice day where I watch the birds and Karen gets some fresh air and sunshine. We even walked in light rain the other day. We saw a Loon, Common Mergansers and Mallards on the lake, and lots of Robins, Grackles, Song Sparrows, Black Capped Chickadees, one Flicker and a few woodpeckers in the woods. One day we heard a Barred Owl calling. I called back, but it didn’t answer. Karen said I didn’t sound like an owl. There have been a couple Ruffed Grouse drumming along the way. On one hike, we found wood frog eggs in a small body of water along the trail, so they have been out courting already. Some of these eggs were frozen in the ice that morning. They won’t hatch, but the ones under water should make it as they have in the past. Maybe the eggs can even freeze like the adults and make it also.
Years ago, I moved some of these eggs to a small pond behind the house which usually dries up later in the summer and the ones that hatched there have come back each year to lay eggs. I normally miss them calling, as I’m in Florida, but I haven’t heard them yet this year, and no eggs in the pond yet.
The ice is mostly out of many of the lakes and ponds in the area and the loons only needed to see open water and they were here. Flying at 75 miles an hour, they can cover a lot of ground and if they don’t find open water, they can go back south and try again another day. Even with all the south winds, they don’t seem to be any more geese going north. You might catch a flock of brant, as they seem to go later than the geese flights. I sometimes hear them while in my tent at Crown Point Banding Station as they go over during the night.
I don’t know if you have seen the new Local ADK magazine spring issue, but I had an article on banding in the Adirondacks in there. I talked about banding birds at the house, at Crown Point and at Stillwater doing hummers. I mentioned that you could visit and we could talk about birds, but that can’t happen this year, with all the problems with the virus going around. The magazine is available in the Post Offices and the Information Office in Old Forge.
I have been banding at the house as new birds keep coming north. This nice weather and south winds help them on their journey, but keep those feeders full, because if it snows, they know where there is available food. This snow probably won’t last very long, but they just need a few seeds to keep them going until the snow goes away. I have mine electrified to keep out the bears and they learn very quickly, as they only need to get hit once and go find wild food for themselves. This time of the year when they first come out, they might find a dead deer to feed on, but they also eat lots of greenery in grasses and new tree leaves. They will climb an aspen and eat the new leaves at the top. These leaves sometimes also have ants on them, which gives them a little meat with their veggies.
Stay safe and respect others’ space when you are out and about. Wash your hands, as my mother used to say many times after I was playing in the dirt or my pigeon coop. Now we have a reason and it works. Don’t touch your face and wear a mask which is even better, things will get better, but there is a long road ahead.
You can get out and hike and even bike on Campsite roads, just give folks some space, but that’s another story. See ya.