Saturday, July 2, 2022

Traveling to Webster for Grandson Nathan’s graduation ceremony

The longest day of the year passed on Tuesday, June 21 in the pouring rain, so who could tell? I missed the strawberry moon last week in the clouds, and when I did catch it in the middle of the night it was so low in the sky that it hid behind the trees even when on the second story. In the early morning before daylight, five planets are still aligned in the eastern sky, which won’t happen again for several more years.

The best place to catch this is on a lakeshore with a good view of the SE sky. The moon is at its smallest, so that shouldn’t interfere with your view. However, you must get out before the sun lightens the sky. Since I’ve been doing Boreal bird surveys starting at about daylight, I should get a few looks at these planets while traveling to these sites.

Some Loon chicks hatched this week in many places across the Adirondacks. Many more should hatch just before the Fourth of July, so be aware of them while you are out and about on the area lakes where we do have chicks already. Many will still be nesting, as they lost their first nest and have re-nested.

These birds will still have to sit on eggs for 27 days, so they may not hatch their young until mid-July. The latest I ever had a nest come off was at Dart’s Lake and that was on August 15. These chicks grew enough to fly out before freeze-up, as the river runs through the lake and kept it open longer than lakes that don’t have moving water going through them.

With global warming, most lakes are freezing up later than they did ten or twenty years ago. Some lakes, like Lake George and Lake Champlain, don’t completely freeze over or not until late in the winter. This has caused some confusion for the Loons who think they can stay all winter in open water, then comes a quick, hard freeze and their open water is gone. Also, since they should have been in the ocean where they normally molt and they are unable to fly, they are now stuck unless someone catches them and moves them to open water.

This has happened the last two winters on Lake George and just last winter on Lake Champlain. All birds had molted and were trapped in a puddle they had kept open. Last winter three on Lake George got frozen out completely and were caught by fishermen out on the ice. Videos of some of these rescues can be viewed on the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation website. [Read more about Adirondack Almanack Guest Contributor Eric Teed’s experience as a team member helping to rescue five loons on Lake Champlain this past winter here:]

Our big event this weekend was traveling to Webster (north of Rochester) to see our Grandson, Nathan Gary Lee, graduate from Webster Thomas High School on Friday night (June 24). This was an outdoor event at the Webster Thomas Stadium with 315 graduates on the field and all their families and friends both seated on the field and filling the stadium seating. There were several great speeches by both teachers and students before the diplomas were handed out to each student. The weather cooperated, as the ceremony started at 7:30 p.m., and the sun set just as the speeches ended and the stadium lights came on.

Caps in the air at Webster Thomas High School’s graduation ceremony. Photo by Gary Lee.

The prelude and processional were played by the Webster Graduation Ensemble. The National Anthem and Thomas High School Alma Mater were sung by the Thomas Select Choir of which Nathan was part of the choir. Later in the program, they sang, “Hero.” Between songs, there was a Welcome and Recognition of Service by Mr. Glenn Widor, Principal, Words by Superintendent of Schools Mr. Brian Neenan, student speeches, including “My Life’s Journey” by Stephen Woodward, “Everybody Makes Mistakes” by Jaden Morales, and “A Titian’s Journey” by Caroline Cunningham… a great job by all.

A Graduation Address was given by Mr. Todd Stahl. After the handing out of diplomas and Confirmation of Graduation Status by Mrs. Tammy Gurowski, Board President, the song “My Way” was sung beautifully by Alexander Ramirez. The class was then dismissed to go over by the scoreboard and toss their caps into the air, which made a great parting shot in the night light.

Before the ceremony, we had supper at our grandson Jake’s home in Livonia, which got hit with a 100 MPH downdraft just last week during a thunderstorm. It took down several big trees right in his backyard and lifted a few shingles off the roof of his garage. We stayed at our daughter and son-in-law’s, Erin and David Bills, home in Henrietta. Erin and I did a bird walk around the block the next morning and found a few.

Then we visited our expecting-granddaughter, Emily and her husband Kris’, home in Leroy before heading to the graduation party at our son, Jason and Kelly’s, home in Webster. Mitch came to the graduation and then he and Jessie and their two young ones came to the party. It was a great weekend with our tour guide, Erin, seeing all the family in one place since Covid hit two years ago.

The Fourth of July is upon us, but that’s another story. See ya.

Photo at top: From left: Karen Lee, Nathan Gary Lee, and Gary Lee. (Photo provided 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."

4 Responses

  1. louis curth says:

    Gary and Karen: Here are a few words applicable as my good wishes to your grandson Nathan & his generation:

    I agree with you Boreas, there are many boomers who have fought long and hard on behalf of our environment and still do to their great credit. But what about the rest?

    Bill McKibben recognizes the boomers waning support. That’s why he launched “Third Act” in 2021 in an attempt to rally older Americans around climate change. A year later, a clearly frustrated McKibben has written a new book; “The Flag, The Cross and the Station Wagon”, in which he ponders what went so sour with American patriotism, American faith and American prosperity.

    Another book; “Our Own Worst Enemy”, by author Tom Nichols, argues that western societies have become self absorbed. He suggests that any renewal of western liberal democracy will depend upon ordinary people “who possess the civic knowledge and virtues to make the system work”.

    “Ordinary people” sure sounds like baby boomers to me. They have prosperity, political power and most were taught in their formative years about the values and obligations of citizenship in a democracy. On top of that, they have a lifetime of common sense to draw from. So why are so many boomers indifferent to what is happening to our country? Why don’t they demand action to fix the worsening quality of life speeding toward the young people of their grandchildren’s generation?

    I would urge everyone, young and old together, to read and take inspiration from these words of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy:
    “Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, they send forth a tiny ripple of hope.”

    Now, in best July 4th tradition, let’s all get back to work!

  2. Terry says:

    Amen, Mr. Curth!!

  3. Bob Meyer says:

    Congratulations all around! 🎉

  4. Mele Luau says:

    Congratulations on your grandson’s upcoming graduation! It looks like Webster is a great destination for a weekend celebration.

    If you need any planning advice or tips for your trip, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We hope you have a wonderful time and lots of wonderful memories!

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