Win an Outdoor Adventure with Gary Lee at our Online Holiday Gift Auction going on now! Join Gary on an Orchid and Bird Walk with a couple guests and learn about everything you see.
Bid on the Outdoor Adventure with Gary Lee at the link below:
Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 79
A fairly mild spell took away the nice snow covering we had in just one night. The ice went out of my pond for the second time and the trout were thrilled to get fed once again before their pond is frozen under ice for the winter. Well, this morning at 20, they are under ice again, and looking at this week’s weather, they may get a peek at open air later this week, maybe for a Thanksgiving treat.
Early in the week, I took a road trip to see the Snow Geese that were massing along Lake Champlain, just north of Plattsburgh. A few birders had gone to see them a couple days earlier and these geese were on the move south. They feed as they go into the cut corn and hay fields that are only a couple wing flaps from the shore of Lake Champlain. It took me a little over two hours on dry roads to get there and I no more than turned onto Point au Roche Road and the first field was white with Snow Geese, with a few Blue Geese mixed in. There were over 2,000 in the field foraging among the corn stubble. I took a few photos and they all started leaving, little by little, headed toward my sister Patti and Ed Conroy’s home who live on the next road over. She had sent me a photo of this same flock feeding right across from her house the morning before. I went around and down her road, but no Snow Geese to be seen. I found a nice flock of Canada Geese along the end of that road, which was nice, and they all flew out onto Lake Champlain. I looked out and I could see the big flock of Snows out in the middle of the lake, but swimming toward this shoreline. I stopped to see Sister Patti, but found no one home, so I left a note that I was in the area photographing. I went back over to Point au Roche Park and saw that the Snow Geese were almost at the shoreline. About that time, my friend Ellie George called me to tell me they were taking photos down the beach and awfully close to where the geese were coming ashore. I moved down the path to meet up with them and we got remarkably close to all those geese. Many never left the shoreline as we walked the beach. Then a big bunch took flight and landed just a little way out on the lake.
About that time Sister Patti called and asked where I was, and she said they would come over for a visit in the parking lot. Ellie and her husband were going to travel north on Lake Shore Drive in hopes of seeing one of the Snowy Owls that had been seen over the weekend along with the geese in the fields up toward Chazy.
Patti and Ed came over and we had a nice, masked visit as the Geese were flying overhead. We caught up on a few things, including the election and how it was going in our favor of course. It had been quite a while since seeing them and it was nice to catch up in person rather, than emails and phone calls. We discussed family and Thanksgiving and hoped all our families would make it through the Covid -19 virus.
Ellie rang me up and said there was a Pine Grosbeak in a crab apple tree in the front yard of a home just up Lake Shore Drive, and a little further up, there was a big eight point buck standing in the front yard of a home. She first thought it was a stature until it moved. I chased up the road after saying good-byes to sister Patti and her husband.
The Pine Grosbeak was gone and I never did see the buck, but Canada Geese were all along the shoreline of the lake, along with several small flocks of Mallards, and I did see some of both varieties of Common and Hooded Mergansers. I also saw three Northern Shovelers hiding among one flock of geese. When I got up toward the Chazy Riverland’s, there were thousands of Snow Geese in the air and on the water. I turned south from there on Stetson Road, still looking for Snowy Owls, but saw none. I did see several Snow Buntings and Horned Larks feeding in the bare corn fields not far from the road. If you stopped and scanned the open fields, they were everywhere; nice to see.
I could see black clouds moving into the south and they were predicting some possible snow. Well once I got south of Lewis on the Northway, all the way home across the Blue Ridge Road through Newcomb, Long Lake, Blue Mountain and Raquette Lake, it was a white out in many places, not a fun trip home. Karen hit a spot where the cell phone worked just as I was going through Blue Mountain and she wondered where I was. I said nearly home in thirty minutes; long day and nap time.
Bucks are on the move, as I saw two right in the highway today, but that’s another story. See ya.
Snow geese by Joe Poliquin
Top photo: Snowy Owl by Joe Poliquin