Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 60

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Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 60

We finally got some rain and my garden and flowers loved it. We had an inch the first night and then 2 and a half inches the second night and some of that ran off. A couple times it was pouring, but most of the rain, that I was awake for, was gentle and soaked in where it was needed. I haven’t been over to Sixth and Seventh Lakes, but they must be full by now. Many of the Loons have gotten their chicks on the water, but some are still sitting, or were, on Thursday and Friday, but may have hatched over the weekend. I was at Independence Lake yesterday, 7/12, and that pair had just gotten off the platform with one chick. The chicks seem so small when they first hatch compared with the adults when on the water, but they grow each day. 

I did see a family of nine turkey chicks run across the road not far from there and they were about one third grown. I didn’t see the hen, but I’m sure she wasn’t far away. Coming back from Cedar River Flow through the Plains, I saw three turkey families one day last week and the babies were all different sizes, from a couple days old to half grown. I also saw one family of grouse crossing the road and they were just little guys.

At the bird feeder, the blue Jays brought their kids, or the kids found where mom and dad had been getting their food, as they all showed up for lunch. The kids didn’t know how to get the seeds, but they would chase the parents and beg for a seed as the adults were opening them. It was a raucous scene of blue and white in the tree branches. Those new feathers of the young seemed so much bluer and whiter than the duller adults who had been feeding these kids for three weeks now. 

Invasive plants are showing their ugly heads and flowers in our landscape and can be controlled. The garlic mustard has gone to seed, but can be pulled, seed heads and all, and disposed of in the garbage. Another one that has taken over many roadsides, from seeds in gravel from outside the Park, is wild parsnip. This plant now has an umbrella of yellow flowers that stand much above other plants growing around them. Don’t pick these as a flower for your inside vase because the plant has sap that will give you bad burns if you get it on your skin. I know some who have done this, and the burns don’t go away or heal, so heed the warning. These plants can be controlled by cutting them now, before they go to seed and produce another hundred plants for two years down the road, or by spraying with Round-Up, which will kill the plant. If you are cutting them, use long handle clippers, wear gloves and a long sleeve shirt. Wash after doing this and if you get some of the sap on your skin, wash immediately.   

Tom Beckingham and I cut most of the parsnip from the South Shore Road shoulder over the weekend and I found some good plants as I was doing that. There are several mints plants with square stems, and they all have a different odor that have also been brought in with roadside fill. When you walk through it, you know it from the released odor. Another plant I found was red baneberry. I see lots of white baneberry or dolls eyes red and white berries, but not much of the red in the wild around here, so they were probably brought in also. Must be deer proof and they would make a nice plant in your outside shade garden, bright green with bright red berries, book says they are poisonous so don’t eat them. Settlers used the white baneberry for dolls eyes since the name and you wonder how many children died from eating these before that was stopped.

I cooled off a little on Saturday after the rains, so Karen and I went out on the porch and sat on the couch. Karen wasn’t there long, and she got up to water the flowers as our resident Robin had gone for more food for their young. She only left when I saw a yellow jacket go right under the seat she was sitting, and then another. There was a nest right under her cushion and why she didn’t get bit, I don’t know, because there were over thirty when I flipped over the cushion and sprayed it with hornet spray. One escaped and nailed me in the temple, which I must say hurt. It was a bee battle for two days as they tried to recover their nesting spot and Karen got hit in the ankle the next day as she was trying to recover the cushions. Think we have them licked now.

I’ve had Ovenbirds nesting around the house for a couple years now, but never caught one until the other day, so that’s another new bird banded at Eight Acre Wood.

Fishermen, don’t throw that wad of fishing line overboard, but take it to shore and put it in the garbage. But that’s another story. See ya. 

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