Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 65

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Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 65

Beginning of the week, an intense line of strong thunder storms and tornadoes, called a derecho, starting in Nebraska and traveling right into Wisconsin, putting more than 100,000 out of power, taking down trees, damaging homes and businesses and laying crops flat with much down draft winds up to 110 MPH. Some drivers on the interstates said it blew out their windshields as they were driving along; that’s got to be scary and dangerous. Many are living in tents outside their homes and apartments. Not much heard about this on the news after it happened, while thousands are still without power.

Out in California, wildfires are raging in hot and dry conditions, many sparked by lightning storms that went through the area yesterday. Near the Nevada border, there was a firenado coming out of a fire, with winds of more than 100 MPH spreading flames as it spun along ahead of the fire front. You wouldn’t want to be in its path. Many on some of the interstates were cut off by the flames as they tried to escape. Fires at both ends of the state are burning out of control, most are less than 15% contained.

The numbers with COVID-19 are still on the increase, with over 5 million now infected and over 160,000 have died. So far, we have escaped any big outbreaks locally, but with all the people coming through this area to recreate, it is only a matter of time. So wear your mask and keep your distance; it does work.

I was out and about this week checking loons in places I haven’t been all summer, as I’ve found most of my banded loons. Now I go looking for new ponds and lakes close by to see if some of my birds haven’t been put off their original lakes and maybe moved to a new lake or pond nearby.

The white plug loon that I captured a couple weeks ago, after Nina Schoch patched him up that day, is still doing ok on the small lake where we released him. Haven’t seen him fly yet, but he eats good and dives ok catching fish. 

While watching the pair of Loons and two chicks on Sixth Lake the other day, one of the chicks had about a six-inch bullhead that he was trying to maneuver and get down, as Mom watched very closely to make sure it didn’t lose it. I never did see if the chick got it down, as a tuber came roaring by and everybody had to dive. He didn’t lose his fish, but I never did see if he got it down. He had it well mangled when I left, but I never saw him put it down his throat.

I took a hike into Stink Lake the other day. I haven’t been there since trapping there about ten years ago. On the old maps, it was called Odor Lake. Charlie Thibado once told me he fell through the ice there and into the mud bottom while beaver trapping, and he knew why they called it Stink Lake. Not many people tramping around in that country and the deer flies and mosquitoes were just waiting for some new blood to come through, and they were hungry. There were lots of wood ducks, a couple black ducks, some mallards and one lone loon fishing out in the middle of the lake. It’s about the size of Helldiver Pond and all the inlets and outlet are covered with pond lilies and other pond plants that moose and deer love to eat this time of the year. There were lots of those tracks in the mud around the edge of the lake and headed down the old road, now a trail, over toward Balsam Lake. I didn’t make it there that day, as the beavers had the trail flooded for over a quarter mile in between the two lakes. There were quite a few blow downs in the trail, but all you had to do was to follow the critters who went on one side or the other to get around these obstacles.

I forgot to mention that I didn’t need to carry a lunch that day, as there were enough black berries along the old roads to keep me going. I saw that I had to share with the bears, so I left them a few.  

Herkimer County Highway crew has mowed the shoulders of the Big Moose Road and Rondaxe Road to cut down the some of the Wild Parsnip that is growing along these roads before it goes to seed. They cut some of the milkweeds in the process, but they have come back up with energy from the roots and the migrating monarchs looking for places to lay their eggs like these new plants. There haven’t been as many as last year traveling through, but there are quite a few caterpillars already feeding and some have gone into chrysalis already.   

Some birds have left us already and others are getting new feathers in preparation to go, but that’s another story. See ya.

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