GL 248 Bald Eagle Across the Pond

Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 248

After a couple short spurts of snow at the beginning of the week it has been all downhill for the snow cover since then. With temperatures predicted above normal for the next few days there will be very little snow left in the woods and not good ice conditions on any lake. When I was trapping beavers with my partners in the Moose River Area sometimes, they would still be trapping in April with a snowmobile, but not anymore. This is surely giving the deer a break and if it stays like this the bears will surely be out checking bird feeders on their travels. 

Just last week, reading Adirondack Explorations Nature Writings of Verplanck Colvin compiled and edited by Paul Schaefer in one place it mentioned surveying the shoreline of Raquette Lake. Colvin said it was hard to find solid ground on which to start as they had to shovel through seven feet of snow. He mentioned the cedar tree’s lower bows had been killed by the deep snow, his theory. In fact, they had been eaten off by the deer browsing around the shoreline which they still do on many lakes in the Adirondacks. Some other things I found interesting were in his travels over Seventh Lake Mountain looking for a high point to survey from, but it was covered with towering trees and no open summit. He continued down the back side of the mountain and came upon a deer yard and a mountain lion track. They followed the track and found the cat treed, which they shot; this was in February of 1877. They also saw wolf tracks as big as mountain lion tracks traveling from Raquette Lake up Brown's Tract Stream to Eighth Lake. In this survey they went on to the Little Plains by the Red River over to the Big Plains and the Moose River. From there they traveled west to the outlet of Limekiln Lake which they followed back to the lake, then over the hill to Fourth Lake all in the same day on snowshoes, that’s one heck of a hike in one day towing the Mountain Lion.

When I first came to my position as Forest Ranger at Limekiln Lake, I got to paint some of the same lines that Colvin had surveyed and saw some of the corners that he set way back then. He set the corner of John Brown's Tract, Totten and Crossfield’s Purchase and Moose River Tract which is not far off the Black Bear Mountain Trail. This was the corner of the Rocky Point Property before some was sold to the state after it was logged. He followed old, blazed lines that were many years old carrying elevations as he or his crews went along. He did this all over the Adirondacks determining the elevations of all the high peaks and many of the smaller mountains, ponds, and lakes he either crossed or came near to as he went down these old lines. 

With this warm weather and southerly winds, the Canada Geese have been going north already and some of the smaller birds are also coming north. I haven’t seen a Robin yet, but some have been reported in the Utica area. There have been Red-winged Blackbirds in Old Forge for two weeks now, but none at Eight Acre Wood yet. I did see a Red-tailed Hawk cruise over one day, but I had no carcass on the dam, so it didn’t stop for a snack as they usually do. I did have a mature Bald Eagle in a stub on the other side of the pond a couple times also looking for a snack. Normally when I have a carcass on the dam, I get Golden Eagles stopping in to feed on it. Even if I’m not here, I catch them on my trail camera on the dam. If I’m home and see them they are very spooky and they can see me moving around in the house trying to get their picture and they fly away. I’ve had a pair a couple times on their way north, as they do nest in Maine and Canada, but none in New York since 1970 when they raised one young back in the Moose River Area. Their last attempted nesting was in 1981 which failed as we had a few heavy snows in March and April. 

Some of my daffodils are popping out of the ground as the snow melts. They will probably get frozen as winter isn’t over yet, still some freezing weather to come this month and next month also. It needs to be clear for the big solar eclipse on April 8. 

There was an article Towering Women by Peter Benoit in the latest Conservationist Magazine. Mentioned in the article was the Rondaxe Mountain Fire Tower where three women were Tower Observers; Florence Mykel 1926-1929, Harriet Rega 1930-1936, and the last woman observer in a tower there was Mary Brophy Moore 1989. 

My sister Wendy has been feeding Eastern Bluebirds in Clifton Park all winter but that’s another story. See ya. 


Photo above: Bald Eagle across the pond