Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 9
Summer has finally come to the Adirondacks along with a dry spell, but the folks to the South of us got hammered with record rains yesterday, with 3.5 inches in Washington, DC. When that much rain falls in such a short time, there is going to be flooding, and there was if you saw any news reports.
There were plenty of people out and about over the long Fourth of July weekend as the highways were full of vehicles and the waterways had many boats, canoe, kayak, and paddleboard traffic. Most did this safely, but there were a few incidents which kept the police, ambulance and fire companies on the move.
The days are already getting shorter and the temperatures getting hotter, so get out of the house and water those plants, especially when we get several days without any rainfall. It doesn’t hurt to water them every day if you can, and a little fertilizer sure brings on the blooms. Talking of blooms, the Secret Garden Tour from View is next Wednesday and one of the stops is my place, at Eight Acre Wood, so that secret is out. My place is just wild and free; no lawn, with things just growing where they want to.
Ted Hicks and I got up to Stillwater before the rains came on Saturday. We caught and banded a few more hummers, about thirty, I think, and one that we banded earlier this year.
I’ve been doing a lot of bog hopping, watching loons, and doing boreal birds surveys. The orchids are loving this summer so far, and the heat from last week or so has brought many flowers into full bloom. I’ve never seen so many orchids in Ferd’s Bog, as the white-fringed orchids nearly cover the open bog mat. If you get off the boardwalk to wander around the bog, you have to watch where you step, as to not step on the beauty there. Most are photographable right from the boardwalk. There are grass pinks and rose pogonias, also by the hundreds.
The black-backed woodpeckers have nested there and can be heard drumming or calling to each other about your presence. The olive-sided flycatcher will be calling, depending on the time of day, doing a pip-pip-pip call early in the day, and when they get thirsty, a quick three beers later in the day.
If you are canoeing the shoreline of South Inlet, the bogs on the north shore of Utowana Lake and the bogs in Francis Lake are just covered with rose pogonias. Some, if you look closely, have double blooms on one stem. The bugs have tapered a bit but there still are deerflies and mosquitoes. The dog flies have come out early this year and they can be pesky while you are out on the water, and on land also. I take a fly swatter right out in my canoe to keep them at bay and feed the fish the dead ones.
I photographed a monarch on the milkweed flowers in the View garden yesterday. If you missed getting some of the small milkweeds to eat a month ago, you can enjoy the flowers, which are just right to eat now. There are plenty so you are not robbing the butterflies of a meal. Just clip off the flowers and a couple leaves, toss them in a pot and boil for ten minutes. Dump off the spiders and ants, if there are any, and add a little seasoning and maybe some vinegar. They taste much like they smell and make a great veggie for any meal.
The fawns are out and about following mom, so if you see a deer crossing the highway, slow down as a fawn may be a little slower in crossing the highway. I saw twins trying to cross the South Shore Road, coming right out of a driveway, with mom and they let me pass before crossing.
Coming home from Paul Smith’s College last weekend, there were deer all over the road just before dark and we nearly wore one on the hood of the car. I think there may be some tail hair on the headlight. They are edge animals and the best eating for them, as well as the turkeys, are the open roadsides.
Many places I go watching loons are havens for painted turtles and big bullfrogs. Francis Lake, off the Number Four Road, has more painted turtles than anywhere I go. They seem to be on every log and some even stay there long enough to have their picture taken. There is a big bullfrog, or two, who have taken over the loon platform on Limekiln Lake. They bury themselves in the sphagnum moss and wait for flies to go by. Sometimes, I don’t even see them and they jump off and scare me.
Some flowers that normally bloom in August are out already, but that’s another story. See ya.