Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 70
The color is coming on strong in this area, with many bright reds on the landscape. We had hard frosts three nights in a row which did in many of the wide leaf wildflowers and shrubs. It is still very dry, so be careful while out and about with any fire and make sure they are dead out before leaving them.
One DEC Firefighting Crew of 10 were in Nebraska and South Dakota on a detail and they returned in late August. Another crew was deployed to that same sector out west on 9/12. A single resource, a DEC Forest Ranger, was deployed to California on September 10 to assist in fighting the Valley Fire as a Planning Section Chief. There is still little control of the fires out west, which have burned over 4 million acres and killed 35 people, with many still missing in towns that were completely destroyed.
On the hurricane scene, Tropical storm Wilfred, Subtropical Storm Alpha, which formed off the coast of Portugal, and Tropical Storm Beta, in the Gulf of Mexico, set a new record when they all formed within a 24-hour period. Wilfred is still moving west of Bermuda in a northerly direction and should affect the east coast of the US as it goes north, with high tides and wave action, as it hits Nova Scotia on Wednesday. Alpha died in the ocean and did no damage. On the other hand, Beta, in the Gulf of Mexico, will hit the Texas and Louisiana Coast on Tuesday or Wednesday, with winds and rains right where they aren’t needed after last weeks hit by another hurricane. The Gulf of Mexico is warm, so this storm should increase in intensity as it moves northward toward the coastline. All this moisture is missing the west coast where it is needed badly to help with the fires.
I have been out bass fishing a couple times with Doug Riedman and we did well both times, catching some nice largemouth bass the first time and smallmouth bass the second time. I was using my tiny torpedo and Doug his worm trick. I lost several while on the way in on the torpedo, but Doug landed most of his on the worm. The second day I got to try Doug’s worm trick and it worked well for me also, as we landed several smallmouths in the two to three-pound range and one almost five pounds.
On one lake as we were fishing, there was a loon family with two chicks and a bigger chick that was there fishing also. We were just behind a point and the loons started making a racket and I said there must be a Bald Eagle somewhere close by. About that time, it came around the point in the direction of the two chicks which really put the adults in a panic. It saw us and made a quick turn around and beat feet out of the area. The loons quickly relaxed and went back to fishing. I saw one of the adults wrestling with a big fish, about a foot long, for quite a while before it got it headfirst in the bill and down the throat it disappeared.
The birds are still on the move, with more new birds dropping in each day. Just yesterday, 9/20, I looked out and there was a Common Yellowthroat feeding in the flowers out back. It was a tad frosty, but I put up the net and soon had some birds in it. I caught several White Throated Sparrows, mostly males, then I caught a couple Tennessee Warblers and one Chestnut-sided Warbler, a couple White Breasted Nuthatches, a couple Downy Woodpeckers, some American Goldfinch and Purple Finch and one new Black Capped Chickadee. Later in the day, I put the net up again after we got back from Utica and caught that Common Yellowthroat, a nice male. Then the last bird was a banded Blue Jay that I banded on October 4, 2015, which was an exceptionally good return for a jay.
A week ago, on Sunday Nora Burke called me to tell me there was a plover of some kind on the Green in downtown Raquette Lake. She had reported a plover a few years back in 2002, right around the marina. It was an American Golden Plover, which was only the second sighting of that bird in Hamilton County. I went up to Raquette Lake and right on the Green was the plover, which turned out to be a Black Bellied Plover. It had only been seen once in the county in Indian Lake in May of 1983. I got several photographs and when I got home, I called a few people about seeing the bird and I don’t know if they went to see it or not. This was a new bird for the county for me, thanks Nora.
The water is cooling down, so it is time to get back to catching some brook trout, as they will be more active before spawning, but that’s another story. See ya.