Northern Lights Indian Lake by Donna Spring

Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 232

Here we are in the third week of November and there is no snow on the ground. The temperatures dipped low the last couple of nights 18 the first night 11/12 and 12 on 11/13 which put a skim of ice on the pond. There is a lone muskrat in the pond who will be looking for a get out of pond card soon as there is no vegetation for it to eat left in the pond as I pulled it all out. 

On the night of 11/6 there was a great show of the northern lights, which some folks in Indian Lake got a great photo which some friends sent me, not given by the taker. Some folks locally saw it over Seventh Lake also, but no photos taken that I’ve seen. Just Saturday night looking at the forecast there was also another show expected and my grandson Nathan and I were prepared to get out and get some shots. That didn’t happen as the clouds never parted. It was to peak just after dark, but the clouds stayed overhead right through the night.

A couple wandering moose were seen and photographed along the Big Moose Road last week. There were also a few reports of deer being hit by cars as bucks start their rut season looking for does. If you see one crossing the road, be watching for a second one to cross. 

Looking at the hurricane forecast there is still a possible tropical depression that could develop in the Caribbean Sea later this week. Even though it’s November with all the climate changing weather they could happen so keep watch.

The Nome at Tony Harpers is keeping watch over Inlet until the snowmobilers arrive. With this crazy weather we can’t determine when that will be. Normally by the end of Big Game season when the trails are open there was enough snow for the snowmobilers to run but not so the last couple years. They get six feet in the Buffalo area and not a flake here. I know they had to do lots of work on the Old Forge trails after the flooding this summer. I haven’t heard how the washed-out railroad tracks above Woods Lake Station are coming along. I saw where they have been hauling in fill but that’s a big project. 

We lost one of our banded Loons which was on Dart’s Lake. The male banded in 2007 was found dead on the shore of the lake, much eaten by predators, but it still had his bands. The carcass was collected and will be tested to see if we can determine why it died. The pair did have a chick this year and it was still alive on the lake. 

This week I saw a Loon fishing on Fifth Lake and a pair of this year’s Loon chicks fishing together on Limekiln Lake. Other people have heard them still calling on Fourth Lake. On some of the bigger lakes like Lake George and Lake Champlain they don’t freeze up until late in the winter season. The Loons feel secure when there is still open water and then bang, we get a deep freeze, and they are in a small hole in the middle of the lake, and they can’t get out or they even get frozen out and they are on top of the ice trying to fly away. This has happened in the last couple of years and the birds some of these Loons were captured and taken to open water. What it is is that the adult Loons molt during the winter and these Loons have stayed too long and they have molted their flight feathers so they are flightless and couldn’t get out anyway. They can survive when taken to open water just like they would have in the ocean. They haven’t completely adapted to climate change yet. 

I didn’t make it over to see the Snow Geese, but many little birds moved into my feeders, so I’ve been banding nearly every day. The White Crowed Sparrow that I banded a couple weeks ago now is still hanging out here. Last winter I had a White Throated Sparrow stay the whole winter and fight off the Evening Grosbeaks for some seeds. A flock of Pine Siskins arrived, along with a few dozen American Goldfinch. When we came home from eating out Friday night there was a Barred Owl feeding around the feeders on mice, I’m sure.

Doing a little trail work before the snow comes but that’s another story. See ya. 

Photo above: Northern Lights - Indian Lake - by Donna Spring