GL 256 Tom Turkey by Jason Harter

Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 256

I saw my first blackfly in the air while working in the View Gardens last week. It was only one but I’m sure there are more to come. They were down by the pond when I fed the trout last night. We had three mornings in the twenties this week which put a skim of ice on the bird bath but didn’t harm the growing flowers so far that I can see. Many more wildflowers put out blooms as the sun came out on a couple of those days. With these April showers many more should pop out this week. I haven’t seen trailing arbutus in bloom yet, but Ellie George over at Paradox Lake said she had seen some out over the weekend. I often miss them as I don’t go to places where they grow at this time of the year and there are many growing in this area. They grow so low to the ground as they are trailing vines with oval leaves that most people don’t ever see them. They have a strong sweet odor that you can smell way before you see the flowers. 

The trout lilies came out this week and they are all over the property. I watched the deer herd come through munching what seemed like everything green in their path. The trout lilies were there but I don’t know if they ate them or not. The turkeys also eat greenery as I shot one once that had its crop full of dandelion flowers.

Speaking of that, the turkey season and many warm waters fish seasons open, walleye and pike on the first of May. Jason Harter sent me a picture of a nice tom turkey that I took down in his neck of the wood’s way back in 1992. I know I missed one down there one day when Jason was calling, and I was sitting further out when a big tom came in. I didn’t wait quite long enough as he was still coming in my direction when I shot. Jason said you don’t have a rifle you know as it was an exceptionally long shot that didn’t even faze the turkey only to have him fly away. I guess I waited longer when this tom came in. 

I got out on the water a couple times and put in Loon platforms. One pair on a private lake that has nested on a platform for over thirty years came right over as I was towing the platform out. The male Loon here is banded, and I saw his bands. They were curious about the new platform which has an eagle protective cover, but they disappeared when I threw the cement block overboard and they were not seen again. I’m sure they will check it out after I leave the area. The second one I put in was also in a private lake where I didn’t see the Loons. The caretaker there said that there had been a pair on the lake. We lost the banded male on this lake last fall as it was found dead along the shoreline. I don’t know if we found out what it died from as there wasn’t much left of this Loon when found. 

The folks in the West and Midwest are ducking strong storms, some tornadoes, heavy rains, and hail. Friday alone, 78 tornadoes were reported, mostly in Nebraska and Iowa. Another 35 were reported on Saturday from northern Texas to Missouri. Some towns were not spared on Saturday with many homes and businesses hit in Sulphur, Oklahoma, leaving four dead and thousands left without power, as 16 hit that state. More storms are expected in a wider area from Texas to Illinois as colder air collides with the heat in the eastern US. President Biden declared a major disaster area over the severe storms that flooded the states of Washington and Kansas, the White House said. Major flooding is expected across the south as these storms pass that area. 

The birds have been moving north, some just ahead of these storms, others may get caught in them as they cross the waters between South America and our southern coastline. Some warblers have already moved north and reported seen and heard in the southern Adirondacks. I have only heard a Yellow Rumped Warbler so far in this area. I have had Chipping, Song, and White throated Sparrows so far around the feeders. A second flight of Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles came in over the weekend and I banded a few. Still over fifty little birds around the feeders, Pine Siskins, Slate Colored Juncos, American Goldfinch and Purple Finch. A couple of days ago, I banded over 25 of each of the first and last-mentioned species. 

No bears around here yet but a few have been seen and photographed in Old Forge, a mother and single cub, and a single adult. By the looks of a dumpster in Eagle Bay today there is a bear there. 

More wildflowers should be popping with the heat later this week, but that’s another story. See ya. 


Photo above: Tom Turkey by Jason Harter