GL 257 Tom Turkey

Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 257

April showers bring May flowers and the leaves greening on the trees. Yesterday you could almost watch them grow and get greener by the minute as Karen kept watch for our Hummingbirds to return and they did on Friday the third four days earlier than ever before. A friend and Ranger School Classmate from ‘63, Paul Bozard out in Salamanca, reported that his came to his feeders an hour after he put them up on 4/27. Then the reports came in all week Deborah Haynes in Inlet on 5/1, Loretta Kaye 5/2 in Otter Lake and then several reports came in from all over the area. There are a lot of wildflowers and garden flowers in bloom so they may not be so dependent on the feeders. Marian up at the Stillwater Restaurant had them also on 5/3 and many more to come, I’m sure. Ted Hicks the Hummingbird bander and I will be up there on Memorial Weekend either Saturday or Sunday depending on weather. We will let Marian know when the time gets closer so you can plan to watch the banding operation and maybe get to hold a Hummingbird in hand. 

Another banding operation that is going on now is at The Crown Point Banding Station which is being done in the thickets behind the Fort at Crown Point Historical Site. I got over on Friday to help with setting up the station’s tents, rain shelters and we even got all the nets up before I left at three that afternoon. We even had a few birds in hand and banded before I left. A couple of Blue Jays, a Song Sparrow, and several White-throated Sparrows. We had several volunteers; help clear the net lanes and put up the structures, actually we are all volunteers at the station, but the banders are all licensed with federal banding and state banding permits. We have several other volunteers who are learning how to take birds from the nets under supervision and band the birds under supervision and record that data. This is the forty ninth year the station has been in operation, one of the oldest banding stations to run every year since Mike Peterson started it with a couple of nets in the hawthorn thickets in 1974. When I started just helping on my days off the station ran until Memorial weekend, nearly the whole month. Mike only had a couple nets when it started but the station grew as we had more help and volunteers. Now we are putting up nineteen nets in six locations in the thickets and a field net and opening four Potter traps on the ground. You just never know what you might catch as birds do fly and some western birds fly east so every day you might find a surprise in the net. 

A couple of years ago now Gordon Howard, one of our Master Banders came back to the banding table and said to us we need to sit down and have a chat. He had a bird in a bag, so we all gathered around the banding table a little after seven in the morning and he pulled out a Yellow Breasted Chat which is the biggest warbler, and it doesn’t normally travel this far north. It was a first for the banding station and it was banded and photographed for the records. So, with this crazy weather and winds blowing from all directions just what might show up in the nets on any given day. 

I picked up litter along Route 28 from the Seventh Lake Boat Launch to Eighth Lake Campsite, the same area I’ve done for a few years now. I bought a handy Litter picker, so I don’t have to bend over anymore, just latch onto the litter or can or bottle and in the bucket or garbage bag it goes. So much easier why didn’t I do that years ago. I borrowed one from the maintenance guys on Sanibel Island which had a longer reach so you didn’t have to get off the boardwalks there and always picked litter a day while I was there. I just cannot walk past a piece of litter no matter where I am, and Karen says you don’t have to pick it up, but I do. There was less litter than other years when I’ve done this route and all I can say is that we had less visitors during the winter than normal with the shortage of snow. Many others mentioned this and we ate together at the Eagle Bay Fire Hall for a great lunch on pick up day. No treasures were found that day, except a remote plow control that was where a pick-up went in the ditch just this side of the Eighth Lake Campsite on the opposite side of the road. That must have been some ride down that ditch. 

As I do the pick- up I listen for the birds along the way and watch as there are many wildflowers along this route, trout lilies and even red trillium out already. I did find a dead Yellow rumped Warbler on the shoulder by Cathedral Pines Trail. Someone was nice enough to steal that sign during the eclipse weekend event. Someone also took the Loon Protection sign from the Seventh Lake Boat Launch, just ask I have forty more in my Garage, free for the asking. 

The big tom Turkey was under the feeder on May 2nd and Friday morning as I was filling my bird feeders a couple turkey hunters came down the trail. The tom was gobbling no more than three hundred feet down the trail. Just as I was getting in my truck three shots rang out not far down the trail and I haven’t seen the tom since. Three shots normally means that they missed the first shot, and it flew up and they shot twice more as if it was in the air. I don’t know if they got the bird or not. 

Hope to get over to Crown Point Banding Station for the second week, but that’s another story. See ya. 


Photo above: Tom Turkey