Saturday, April 2, 2022

A traditional Adirondack Spring with the return of old man winter, lots of bird watching

Old man winter returned today (Sunday, March 27) as it snowed most of the day. I hadn’t checked my little pond behind the house, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there would be some wood frog eggs in it after the warm week we’ve had. Last year I saw eggs in some little pond along Trail 5 when there was snow all the way around them. I don’t know if those made it, but the ones behind the house hatched.

The newts feed on those little polliwogs and so do baby painted turtles. I watched them catch some right by the dock at Francis Lake one day. It was a busy day in the bird world today (March 27) as the snow was on the ground when I got up and it snowed most of the day. Looking down on the dam at the carcass there was a Red-tailed Hawk, six Ravens and two Turkey Vultures working for a snack.

The little birds moved in as soon as I cleared the ground under the balsam tree and put more seed on the platform feeder. There was a big flock of Redwing Blackbirds and Common Grackles working in the front yard just before dark last night and it didn’t take them very long to find that feeder.

There were 25 male Redwings and over 40 Grackles and they fought for seeds all day. The little birds got their share in the other feeders and there were 25 American Goldfinch and 30 Purple Finch. A new arrival was another Song Sparrow and several of the Slate Colored Juncos came back, and they knew where the pickin’s were good.

On a couple hikes I saw a Winter Wren on a beaver dam on the outlet of Eighth Lake, several Red Crossbills in the road on the way there. Then I flushed a Woodcock out of the alders along the edge of the Inlet Golf Course. There was a female Hooded Merganser on one of the ponds there.

During the week I stopped at the DMV in Old Forge and the trees behind the Little League field were full of Redwings, Grackles and Starlings. There were also about 20 Robins working in the outfield looking for a snack. From there I stopped at the lakefront and there were all kinds of water birds there. I counted 10 Canada Geese, 4 Mallard Ducks, 4 Common Mergansers, 10 Ring-necked Ducks and 2 Hooded Mergansers.

I came up the Hollywood Road to find 2 male Hooded Mergansers, 2 Bufflehead Ducks, 4 Mallards, 2 Common Mergansers, 10 more Canada Geese and 7 Herring Gulls sitting on at the edge of the ice. The Geese are back in big numbers. I also saw 6 on Sixth Lake the night of the full Worm Moon.

Worm moon reflection on Seventh Lake. Photo by Gary Lee.

The sun hadn’t gone down yet when the moon rose on the night I shot the full moon, but I got some nice reflection pictures in the open water by the bridge between Sixth and Seventh Lakes. It won’t be long, and the Loons will be calling again as there was enough open water in First Lake for a Loon to land.

Fifth Lake is all open and many times one will drop in there and then they must fly around the lake a couple times to get back out. I remember Francis Parent called me and said there was a Loon on the Fifth Lake and I had seen several male Common Mergansers which sometimes people will mistake for a Loon. Well sure enough Francis did see a Loon there among the Mergansers.

I once had a lady call me from over on Lake Abanakee by Indian Lake and she said there was a flock of over one hundred Loons on the lake. Lots of good birds are reported being seen on Lake Abanakee, so I jumped in my truck and raced over there only to find about one hundred Common Mergansers and one lonely Loon. I took some photos and showed her the pictures in the bird book, but she still thought they were Loons.

As these warm and cold fronts bumped heads coming across the country lots of tornadoes popped up from Texas all the way to the east coast. Winds from these fronts pushed several wildfires in Texas, Colorado, and other western states, luckily not many homes were lost. These were just like the wind driven fires in December when thousands of homes were burned.

Another major natural event was the Conger ice shelf collapse in Antarctica about the size of Rome, 1200 squarer kilometers. This due to warming temperatures in that area and it will float around in the ocean and melt as it gets in warmer waters adding much more water to the already rising oceans. This via the Guardian news.

I haven’t seen any black bear tracks yet or heard of any reports of them out about town. It took them about a month last year before mama bear broke through my electric fence and got all my feeders, but I put them back up with better fencing and had no problems after the campsite opened where they could get all the food they wanted. I did see a moose track in the snow at Ferd’s Bog today, but didn’t see the moose. In fact, it was snowing so hard you couldn’t see across the bog.

Southbound, and hope to get to see some migrating birds after they cross the Gulf into Florida, but that’s another story. See ya.

Photo at top: Pitcher plants on Ferd’s Bog. Photo by Gary Lee. 

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Gary lives with his wife, Karen, at Eight Acre Wood in Inlet where he was the Forest Ranger for 35 years, working in the Moose River Wild Forest Recreation Area and West Canada Lakes Wilderness Area. Now retired, Gary works summers for the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation, observing, catching and banding loons. The author of a column Daybreak to Twilight in local papers from 1986 to 2019, he now writes his Outdoor Adventures a weekly blog. In 2008, Gary coauthored a book with John M.C. “Mike” Peterson, "Adirondack Birding- 60 Great Places to Find Birds."

2 Responses

  1. Bill Kitchen says:

    Have a good trip, Gary. 🐊

  2. M. Gill Petri says:

    My longtime friend, Jim Fox sent me this wonderful posting. Please add me to your list of anticipating readers !

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