Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 66
Two hurricanes are bearing down on the Gulf Coast and will hit before you read this in nearly the same place. Never before has this happened. Tell me the weather hasn’t gone wacky. Pray for these folks; I think they are going to need it.
Out west, there are over six hundred fires burning in California and a dry lightning storm rolled through there yesterday with over 12,000 more strikes, setting fires on the dry landscape. Over 500 homes have been burned and only five people have been killed so far. When you see the wall of flames coming down some of these valleys, it’s a wonder anyone escaped if they stayed. Tom Vawter sent me a picture of a house his brother sold just last week, which will not be there after this fire roars through that area. Over one million acres have already burned without much weather-related rain in sight. Most fires are only 12 to 17% contained. Outside resources are being sent from all over the country, even from other countries.
We got some much needed rain this week. Some places got much more than others. I only had a few light showers up by Number Four, but as I came down the Big Moose Road, I could see that it had rained a lot more down this way. I only had a half inch in my gauge, but some that morning got a thunderstorm that dropped more than three inches, a real gully washer.
This week I have been checking lakes near some of our core lakes to see if some of my banded loons have been staying there for the summer. Up at Twitchell lake, I’ve only seen two of the four banded loons there all summer. First, I went into South Pond one morning and saw a Loon as soon as I was on the water. This bird, I guess, hadn’t seen anyone in weeks, as he came right over to the boat and dove under it, showing me his bands. He stuck around the boat like I was going to feed him or maybe the boat was stirring up fish for him to catch because he stayed with me for about fifteen minutes, giving me time to photograph all his bands. He wasn’t more than fifteen feet from the boat, and he kept catching little bullheads, which I guess was good enough for him for breakfast. I didn’t find any nest sites there, but he was the male first banded in the west territory of Twitchell Lake in 2016.
I went back to the parking lot and had lunch, only to meet up with the owners of the Silver Lake property just going into camp. They said there was a pair of Loons on their lake and they had a chick. They asked what the Loons eat, as there are no fish present in the lake. I said they eat newts, polliwogs, cray fish and aquatic bugs. That was good news and that’s where I was going next. I biked in, as the road has been much improved. I glassed the lake and played a few calls. Only one single male Loon was on the lake and there were no chicks there. I didn’t see bands on this bird.
From there, I walked into Razorback and found another single female Loon fishing there. It didn’t show me any legs, so I don’t know if it was banded or not. It was catching fish, as I saw some little minnows around the shoreline, and I know the pond is stocked each year with trout. In all my wandering, this was the first time that I have ever been into these two bodies of water; Silver is completely private, and the state line goes right through Razorback, so only one side is open to public access. The trail there wasn’t too bad, only a couple blowdowns across the trail.
My large-flowered leafcup is just covered with yellow flowers and has so much foliage and flowers I have to rope it up. Joan Herrmann gave me this plant many years ago and it just keeps growing. People who visit always ask what the plant is because it is more like a large bush.
Does anyone know if Snowbird Lake, White Lake or Little Long Lake had Loon chicks this year? If so, give me a call 315 357-5150. Thanks.
One lunchtime this week, I was home and saw several birds working around the feeders, so I put up one net and it didn’t take long before I had a bird: one of my hummers, which I released. The next time, I looked out and had a few birds, all the biting kind, except for another hummer, which backed out as soon as I opened up the net for her to put it in reverse and away she went. Then I had to pick two Black Capped Chickadees, who are all bite, then two Purple Finch, who also bite, and then a juvenile Rose Breasted Grosbeak, who has a big bite, but I didn’t lose any skin in the banding process and on their way they flew.
The Grosbeak was all pink and orange on its underside, as it was just getting its adult feathers. One of the Purple Finch was a male and many of his feathers were new, as he was adding reds to his juvenile gray plumage. Most songbirds molt and get new feathers before their trip south. That’s why they are not doing much talking this time of the year, as they are short a few feathers and their escape is not as fast as it would be when they get all their new feathers back.
Still lots of baby turkeys and fawns trying to cross the highways, so slow down and give them the right of way, but that’s another story. See ya.