Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 47
Spring turned pretty quickly this week, as it snowed about three inches overnight here at Eight Acre Wood and then snowed on and off most of the day Friday. Luckily the ground was warm and most it was melting about as fast as it was falling, but it drove lots of those little birds who were off on their own back to the feeders. The American Goldfinch came in big numbers and the males were putting on their pretty bright yellow feathers and black crown patches. The females also showed some more yellow under their drab brown. The Black Capped Chickadees have been coming right along working on the sunflower seeds and the peanut butter logs, along with the Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers.
I put up my mist net yesterday, as I was only catching a few birds in the Potter traps, and it didn’t take long. I had new birds in hand, and a few older ones also. I caught a Chickadee that I banded 1/14/16, then recaptured twice during that fall and hadn’t seen or caught it again until yesterday. I also got another Chickadee that I banded in 2018 and hadn’t seen since. It’s nice to get those returns. I also got a Slate Colored Junco that I banded last spring before I went to Florida, who came back through here and it may nest not far from here. There were about twelve Juncos around yesterday and today and six more of them are wearing bands.
I had a pretty Hermit Thrush feeding in the yard, but it got nowhere near the net, but I did get its picture. I never heard it sing, but the Song Sparrows have been singing in the area and I heard them on some of the walks that Karen and I have been taking.
Those wood frogs have been singing a chorus on the warmer days and laying eggs in some of the little ponds along our trail walks and the little pond out back. These have frozen over the last couple nights as well as our big pond.
My friend Jason Harter who lives in Fly Creek, just west of Cooperstown, found a Killdeers nest in the snow, not far from his sawmill. Don’t know if that one will make it or not, those early nests sometimes lose their first nest in conditions like this and renest right away. I haven’t seen any Tree Swallows yet, but I’m sure folks on the lake shore have seen some. They sometimes fail to get enough to eat and I find them dead in the nest boxes. Many of these birds like the Swallows and Bluebirds who are bug eaters will eat some of the berries that are left from last year’s fruiting trees to survive.
The maple syrup has been getting a little darker in color as the maples are starting to bud out with these warmer temperatures.
The snowstorm that hit us was much more severe to the north of us. Maine got from 12 to 21 inches of wet snow, which took down many power lines. This put over 250,000 residents out of power and much of that hasn’t been restored yet. Another storm is predicted to hit there again tomorrow (Monday), with 40 t0 50 MPH winds and up to one and a half inches of rain, which could cause flooding by melting of the snow they got at the end of last week.
The COVID-19 is still spreading across the country with more cases and deaths each day. Some places, where folks have been holding in place, are seeing the number of new cases going down. If you must go out, maintain spacing. The fire towers are closed, as you can’t find spacing if you go up in them, and you surely will be holding on the metal railing as you walk up, so just enjoy the walk up and down the trail and the view from the mountain top. Keep spacing if you meet other folks on the trails.
There is no camping in the campsites, and most are gated off, but you can walk or bike around the road systems. If you are out on the water in any boat, canoe or kayak less than 21 feet in length, you must be wearing your life jacket, not sitting on it. That way if you fall overboard, you have a much better chance of survival and rescue. If you don’t survive, you will be found floating and not have to be dragged off the bottom. The water temperature is around 38 degrees and you won’t last long in the water at that temperature.
Spring wildflowers are popping up through the leaf cover, but that’s another story. See ya.