Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 68
We’ve had a little more fall weather than the end of summer weather, with morning temperatures in the low forties and highs only in the sixties. We did get some rain, but still lacking for the year with my pond down about eight inches.
Warblers are in migration big time, as I just had several different species in the trees around the house. I only caught a Black-throated Green yesterday, but I had five different species in the net two days before. One Northern Parula Warbler, which I had only caught every two years since banding here in ‘07. It was a pretty male which was just putting on his new feathers. This is one of the smallest warblers, but very colorful as they all are. They are called confusing fall warblers, as many of their colors don’t match with their summer plumage. There are two pages of confusing fall warblers in Peterson’s bird guide and sometimes I think there should be more. There isn’t much singing going on this time of the year, as they aren’t on territory, they are just traveling south, many young ones for the first time. The first year of a bird’s life is the most dangerous, as they just don’t know what all the hazards are and if they don’t learn fast it could be their last. It is a long trip to South America or one of the island countries south of Cuba for most of these small warblers.
Ellie George had a young loon experience last week, as one came down on a highway not far from Ellie’s house on Paradox Lake. She thought it may have been one of her young ones, as she had four chicks on the lake this year. It was picked up and crated. Nina Schoch, the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation Director, came down to Ellie’s, where they examined the bird as it had come down on the highway and it seemed unhurt, just embarrassed. They banded the bird, took blood and feathers, checked it in a tub to see if it swam upright, then released it in Paradox. Ellie checked it the next couple days and it was doing ok swimming, diving and exercising its wings. She even saw it take off the second day and even got brave enough to fly away. Maybe four or five years down the road, it may return to one of the local lakes nearby, and now that its banded, we will know who it is and that it survived its four years in the ocean.
I went up to the Woodhull Fire Tower for the Tower Lighting on Saturday night from 9 to 9:30. There was a light rain shower about an hour before I started up which wet down the trees and the trail. No company up there this year, so I had it all to myself. I got up there about a half hour before sunset and the clouds in the west made for some great sunset pictures. There was a dark sky to the south and east. The temperature change with the rain had a mist coming off the South Branch of the Moose under Moose River Ridge in the Plains. To the north, there was a huge black cloud over Camp Drum which would light up with lightning every minute or so, but I could not hear any sound at that distance. I tried to photograph the flashes but all I got was a black cloud. I did see some flashes and booms from fireworks in the Old Forge area coming over McCauley Mountain, then a few gun shots and wondered who would be target practicing this time of the night; who knew! I had cell service, so I called FR Jen Temple who was up on Wakely Mountain and FR Melissa Milano who was up on Pillsbury Mountain. I could first see a light from Rondaxe Mountain and then from Wakely, I tried to call Jen back, but just got her answering machine. Then Jim Fox called from Stillwater Tower, which is right behind a big spruce tree from Woodhull, but he could see my light. He was up here with me last year. The t-storm was still flashing just north of them. Then the big half orange moon came up right behind where I was looking at Wakely Tower with Planet Mercury not far to the north. I thought Jen had set it ablaze until the moon came out of the trees. I took a couple shots. Pillsbury was in the clouds, so Melissa didn’t get to see the full show and I never did see her lights. It was a fun night on the mountain, as I could also hear motorboats running to camps on Woodhull Lake.
Not many reports of Moose on the loose yet, but it will happen in the next couple weeks, so watch out on the local highways, as there are a few lurking in our woods. I have seen tracks and Moose poop, so I know they are around.
The red maples are changing, especially around the lake shorelines, but that’s another story. See ya.