Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 7

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Outdoor Adventures - 6/26/19

Locally, this last week teetered back and forth weather-wise from spring to summer. We got through the longest day of daylight just fine, but other rain-filled days were not so pleasant. I had more than three inches of rain at my house. However, I had reports of four and five inches of rain on Thursday.

That amount of rainfall is not good news for nesting loons, as one nest was nearly 18 inches underwater. Some loons will renest, but others on smaller ponds and lakes only give it one shot. Many loons got their chicks off just before the big rainstorms and they are now out and about with their parents. Please give them some space if you come upon a family.

Many songbirds may have also lost their nests due to intense rainfall for such a long period of time. Some birds may have lost their nests based solely on the rain. Perhaps others couldn’t collect enough food to keep the young ones going and they may have perished. I haven’t checked many bluebird or swallow boxes. Unfortunately, some of these little ones will be dead in the box. Sometimes I even find an adult that couldn’t make it.

Several lakes came up well over a foot and some nearly two feet. I have seen several duck families crossing the highway. In many cases, the female is leading her ducklings to larger bodies of water or just to water in general. I saw one female duck twice in one day. She was going both directions, so I don’t know if she ever found water for her ducklings.

I think the pair on my pond lost their nest in the rush of water. I watched her riding on the loon platform that night. It washed back and forth in front of the little stream that flows into the pond. It looked like she was taking a turn on a circus ride.

I haven’t had any baby turkeys under the feeder like I normally do this time of year. However, I have four females coming each day, so they may have lost their nests to water also. I think many ground-nesting birds had a rough spring, as the weather has been both wet and cold.

On the other hand, trees and wildflowers seem to be doing okay, but they are a little late in terms of flowering. I hope most of the flowers, shrubs, and trees have been pollinated. Then they will all bear fruit which is beneficial for all wildlife. The milkweed plants seem to be doing great. Let’s hope the monarchs show up to lay eggs on them. I’ve had a few reports of monarchs spotted in the area, but I’ve seen only one so far. Several butterflies and bees have been working the flowers when the sun has been out.

Luckily, I got in the garden between the showers and blackflies. I hope the heavy rains didn’t wash out some of the seeds. Nothing has popped through the ground yet, but many have replanted already when their first crop didn’t come up. Several farmers around the country haven’t even been able to get in their first crops because the fields are so wet. In extreme cases, some are even underwater. So, it’s going to be a tough year for them.

It has been a great year for pictures of waterfalls. I captured beautiful shots of Twitchell Creek Falls a week ago and then again just after the heavy rainfall. The water was coming over the falls more than I had ever seen before. There were also some nice pink lady’s slippers along the trail on the way in.

Beavers have been trying to catch some of this water by making new dams. They do this to expand their range in the woods to get more food to eat. This has caused problems in many areas and beavers have been removed by permit.

Speaking of water, frogs have been enjoying it. Several have laid their eggs and some little frogs have already hatched out into the big world. If you’re outside View in the evening the little gray tree frogs will sing you a chorus from the trees and walls of the building.

These frogs were brought in on equipment when the building was being built. Since then, they have established a nice population right in the area around the building and ponds. These frogs are difficult to find as they blend right into the bark of the trees they are singing from.

Summer is here and there is so much beauty out there to enjoy (and not destroy,) but that’s another story. See ya.

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  • Nancy Carr 29/06/2019 9:07am (5 months ago)

    Hi Gary, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your columns over the years and am so glad that you are still able to write it through View.
    My husband and I are birders and love the plant life of the ADKs and someday will venture with you on one of your hikes or bird counts.
    I have a question as to whether you have any insite into why many of the hemlocks appear to be diseased and dying. We have had several in the past few years appear healthy one year and gone by July the next. Currently we are losing 2 and with over 50 that I can count outside my window we are very concerned.
    Last year I contacted Cornell's Hemlock Woolly Adelgid research group and was assured that the pictures that I sent of the branches and bark was not of the woolly adelgid. If you have any insite, I would appreciate your feedback. Thanks and keep writing those awesome columns!

  • Sally Stormon 26/06/2019 6:13pm (6 months ago)

    I am really enjoying reading your column here. I'm glad you came to this site.

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