GL 246 Blue Jay in Potter Trap

Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 246

Well, we finally had a whole week of winter at one time with temperatures in the morning in single digits, even below zero a couple of days and snow four days in a row. That kept the snowmobilers riding through the weekend, but trails hit by the sun are bare again with all that traffic. There were a few accidents, four went in the open water of the Inlet channel and one snowmobiler hit a pressure crack on Indian Lake and flew over one hundred feet. A rescue vehicle going to that accident went through the ice and the rescue crew self-rescued and got out. The injured snowmobiler was brought to shore and a waiting ambulance. 

Out west, the California coast was again hit with another atmospheric river with over five inches of rain on top of what they got a week ago which caused mudslides and more flooding of highways. In the mountains they got several feet of snow, and they say they are still in a drought. I don’t know how much they need to come out of the drought but maybe a little more but not so much at one time that mostly runs off. 

I worked at the Chili Bowl at View on Saturday along with many other volunteers. There was a big crowd, and many beautiful ceramic bowls were sold. I saw several people who sampled many of the varieties of chili offered. I myself like chili but not the hot stuff with all the toppings. It was nice to visit with several people that I hadn’t seen in quite some time. To see friends and neighbors having an enjoyable time in support of View Arts. Since there was enough snow for skiing and snowmobiling, I am sure many of our visitors went out on the trails, but some stopped in for a lunch break. There were many new visitors I spoke with who had never been in the building before and I thanked them for their support. 

Last weekend was the Great Backyard Bird Count, Friday through Monday and my feeders were busy over the weekend. I didn’t have to travel to get some birds, but I did count the ducks in the Inlet Channel and on the road to Boonville on Sunday. The day before the count, Thursday, I was watching the birds at the feeders and Northern Shrike swooped in chasing a Black Capped Chickadee. The Chickadee trying to escape flew into the window right in front of me in my office and the Shrike hit the window not a second later. The Chickadee died and the Shrike was stunned but got up and flew away without the Chickadee. The Chickadee that I recovered was one that I had banded 11/3/22. I reported it to the Banding Lab as a window hit. I believe the Shrike was around the next morning as there were no birds at the feeders which normally means there is a predator in the area, but I never saw it to get it on count day. 

The first day of the count I had all my regular birds and twenty-five turkeys showed up that morning after I cleared the eight inches of snow around the feeders. I saw some Turkey heads way out in the woods, and I called here Turkey, Turkey and the woods came alive with Turkeys as they came running right over to the feeders. It was ten degrees that morning, so all the other birds needed a snack to keep warm and they were all around after the Turkeys left. Lots of Blue Jays probably twenty or more and I set the Potter traps and caught a few plus a couple new Chickadees. 

Saturday it was twelve degrees with another new inch of snow and the little birds were back in force, plus the Carolina Wren returned as did a Slate Colored Junco. There were a few Pine Siskins and a small flock of six Purple Finch that seemed to come and go so they must be getting some wild food in the woods from some of the spruce cones. 

Sunday started off exciting as it was eight degrees with light snow falling and a Sharp Shinned Hawk came diving into the feeding area chasing one of my many Chickadees. They went through the spruce and balsam trees on a merry chase and the Chickadee escaped. The Hawk sat on a branch close to the trunk of the spruce tree waiting for one of the little birds to return. It was twitching its tail, but no one returned, and it flew off to wait for another sneak attack in the falling snow. I never saw it again. I went down to the Inlet Channel and counted the ducks. I saw one hundred fifty Mallards and seven Black Ducks. They weren’t so spooky as during the duck count in January and they didn’t fly away. I came home and set the Potter traps and caught three new Chickadees, two Tufted Titmouse and one nice male Purple Finch of the seven there were here, but caught no Jays today.

Monday was a wintry morning at minus two degrees with another new inch of snow. I set the Potter traps and caught six new Blue Jays, three new Chickadees, two repeat Jays and two repeat Chickadees. We traveled to Boonville shopping, and on the Hogsback Road I saw three Pine Siskins and seven Mourning Doves picking grit from the road. On the way home I saw where one of the Siskins had been hit by a car and it was dead in the road. Just give them a toot if you see them in the road and they will fly up. 

Finally got out ice fishing with my Grandson Jake, but that’s another story. See ya. 


Photo above: Blue Jay in Potter Trap