The tamaracks had lost their needles and one day Karen said what is that all over the surface of the pond and it was the needles off the four tamaracks that grow around the pond. That was after the windy Thursday night. I had my Saw Whet Owl nets up after patching another hole and took them down after a couple checks because all I was catching were falling beech leaves which do not pick out a net in the dark. I caught one owl the night before, so I knew there were still some traveling through the area.
On Saturday night the light rain had stopped with no wind, and I said I would put up the nets until it started raining again. On the second check I got an owl right where I had patched the net. This was turn-back-the-clocks night, so I got all the clocks set in between net checks. I got to be at 9:30 new time and I was going to pull the nets. I pushed up the first net as it was empty, pushed up one end of the second net as it was empty, I got to the corner and shinned my light up the last net and at the far end of the net I saw moments in the leaves. I walked up and there were two saw-whet owls not a foot apart both on the far side of the net. I went around and got the first one and put it in a holding bag. The second one had worked its way down the net tremel (catching part of the net) a couple of feet, but still secured in the net. I got it out, pushed it up and wrapped the nets with bird in hand. Turned off the caller and took these birds inside to band, measure their wing cord (length) and weigh them before release. One owl was a female going by wing cord and weight and the other was unknown as it was in between a male and female in wing cord and weight wise. These birds took my last bands of that size, so I am done catching them for this fall, and it was the same day I quit last year catching only one owl that night.
Saturday was my first day of Project Feeder Watch for this year and a few new birds showed up for the count. When I first looked out, I thought a group of American Goldfinch had come in for the count but looking closer I saw that half of them were Pine Siskins with black stripping on their breast. The White Crowned Sparrow was still around, and a White Throated Sparrow also showed up. The Brown Creeper came checking out the suet as did a Common Grackle, and they only made that short appearance. An American Tree Sparrow got in the Potter trap and is now wearing a band as are the other two sparrows. A couple of banded Blue Jays are hanging out daily as well as a flock of Black Capped Chickadees. There were 20 Slate Colored Juncos whose numbers vary from day to day but most of them are wearing bands. A Downy Woodpecker came for a suet snack as did a White Breasted and Red Breasted Nuthatch. Nothing new on Sunday my second day to count but I did add my Northern Saw Whet Owls which I caught on Saturday night.
After blowing leaves for most of Sunday morning I took a drive in the Moose River Area and walked to Rock Dam where the Moose and Red Rivers meet. I had the trail to myself and just one male Hairy Woodpecker was the only bird I heard or saw along that trail. Normally you can flush a Ruffed Grouse while walking that trail but not today. The trail was quite wet, and I was not surprised as it has rained even if just lightly most every day for the last couple of weeks. The river did not seem too high, and I did see Moose tracks in the trail and some down at the ALC gate at the end of the road. There were deer cart tracks in the muddy areas so someone must have a camp set up near the end of the trail. Along the road while driving in I saw a flock of Juncos and two Snow Buntings that were feeding on weeds seeds on the shoulder of the road. That was the first Snow Buntings I have seen this fall.
My sister Patti who lives one road down from Point Au Roche Campground on Lake Champlain sent me an email that the harvested corn fields across from her house were full of Snow Geese one day last week. I could not get over that way, but I notified some of my birding friends and they got up that way. Ellie George and her husband Cal got up there Sunday and there were thousands of Snow Geese right at the park. Duck season opened over that way Saturday so some of the ducks and geese were being moved around by hunters. Another friend, Stacy Robinson and her husband Mark had seen several varieties of ducks during the week before the season opened and a Ross’s Goose among a few thousand Snow Geese.
That little buck has been making his mark on several of my unguarded trees at Eight Acre Wood. He travels with his harem of does when he visits the neighbor’s lawn down the road. He has one tamarack marked up quite well so he must hit that every time he passes it.
Maybe I will get over and see some of those Snow Geese but that’s another story. See ya.
Above photo: Snow Geese by Ellie George