Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 96
Well, that two feet of snow sure went in a hurry when the temperature got up around 60 and the wind and fog sure helped take away some. The folks to the south of us first battled several tornadoes that are still pushing through the area. Now with those storms, the rains are causing flooding in many towns in Tennessee and Kentucky. My friend, Gordon Howard` in South Carolina, had over four inches in just one storm. We had a couple inches right here today.
I saw the full moon after it came up last night, but it disappeared during the night behind a cloud bank. This super moon has several names: sap or syrup moon, frog moon because peepers and wood frogs are usually starting to call at this time. I don’t think it’s going to make an appearance this evening as I look at the radar. Might catch it going down tomorrow, just before daylight. If all this rain had been snow, we would still be shoveling and plowing up our driveways. The frost is out of the ground, so some of this water is sinking in and not all running off.
Several of my crocuses bloomed on those warmer days and some of my new snow drops also came up right beside the snowbanks. Many of my daffodils are up and some got frozen when the temperatures went down in the teens and I don’t think they are going to bloom, but time will tell, as they are pretty tough.
Another project I’ve started is growing ten chestnuts from the nuts in containers. I got these from Allen Nichols who has been growing these for several years for The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF). They have been in the pots for a little over a week and they are already pushing up shouts in most of the pots. I once collected some wild nuts down near my home in Ballston Spa from Chestnut sprouts that came up from diseased trees. I took these nuts over to the Saratoga Tree Nursery, where they planted them, but they died from the blight. What this project is trying to get is some growing and grafting them with disease resistant trees to get some in the future without the disease. I did find some bigger trees, up to ten inches, that had survived the blight, but I haven’t checked on those in years. There was a stub about twelve feet high beside the driveway across from our house that I was told was a chestnut that had died. The first bluebirds I ever saw when I was about twelve years old had built a nest in a hole in that tree and raised young.
With these warmer temperatures and south winds, lots of birds have started migrating north. I hope they don’t get caught in a big snowstorm. I’ve had the net up catching some of the early arrivals. I got lots of new Black Capped Chickadees, which could have been here all winter since they are hard to count. They come and go so fast, taking a seed to eat each time. I did over twenty new birds one morning and just before the rains started last Wednesday 3/24, I had a chickadee down low in the net. While taking it out, I could see it was a well worn band. I kept it in hand and came inside to look up the banded number, 2590-85187, which was a chickadee that I originally banded on 11/19/09, as a hatch year bird, sex unknown. I had caught this bird 18 different times since then in every year but two. This makes this bird 11 years and nine months old, which would make this Black Capped Chickadee the oldest one on record in the eastern United States and I let it go so it may even get older. I think this bird lives locally, but I haven’t caught it during breeding season, so I don’t know if it is a male or female. The wing cord has only grown 2 mm in all those years, and it isn’t that long, so I think it is a female. It hasn’t forgotten how to bite; I can tell you that as I was taking its picture.
I was out checking my net and I heard some Canada Geese way up high with my new hearing aids and I almost needed binoculars to see them. There were over two hundred in two V’s and they had a tail wind. They were traveling faster than some small airplanes and the ones in the back seemed to be just sailing along behind the others without hardly a wing beat.
Glad to hear so many local folks have gotten their Covid shots or are scheduled to get them soon. Even after getting the shots, people should still be wearing a mask and practicing social distancing.
Some other interesting critters at Eight Acre Wood, but that’s another story. See ya.
Above Photo: Crocuses
Super Moon over 7th Lake
Old chickadee in hand