Saturday, September 3, 2022

Enjoying the Adirondack air with Baby Milly, and watching loons fight like penguins

The rain last week sure helped with the forest fire situation. However, the lightning storms could have hit a dry stub or two which could burn for a long time before being detected, and may even go undetected. Many times, I’ve gone through the woods hunting and found where a fire had burned for some time and had either died out by itself or was put out by rain. It may happen this time, as we will be getting more rain this week when a cold front comes through bringing thunderstorms. There’s no one up in fire towers watching anymore, but they may be seen by an airplane flying around the area.

Speaking of fire towers, today, Saturday, September 3, is the annual lighting of the towers from 9 to 9:30 p.m. Local towers which will be lit up are Stillwater, Rondaxe, Woodhull, Blue, Goodnow and Owls Head. I haven’t heard if Wakely, Pillsbury or Snowy Mountains will be lit up this year or not. The 90-Miler Canoe Classic will also be coming up next weekend, starting on Friday morning (September 9) in Old Forge and ending on Lake Flower in Saranac Lake on Sunday, September 11.


A reminder that the Fourth Lake Boat Launch [in Inlet] will be closed starting on September 12 for repairs. There are other private boat launches around the lake that can be used for a charge. The Fourth Lake Boat Launch has needed repairs for a few years now…maybe they will get it right this time. It has been jammed up much of the summer with all the boat traffic on the Fulton Chain.


Some parts of the country are getting more rainfall in a 24-hour period than they normally get all year. Nine inches fell at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport in 24 hours. Texas was 8 to 12 inches short of rainfall for the past six months. Much of that has been erased in just a few hours. Three to six inches of additional rainfall is expected, with the possibility of 7+ inches possible in some areas in the next five days from Texas to Mississippi. In Jackson, Mississippi, the Pearl River is expected to crest at 35.5 feet on Monday [September 5] with 100 to 150 homes possibly impacted.

Starburst dahlia. Photo by Gary Lee.

Last weekend was the weekend to report Loons that had fishing line on them. One was reported on Big Moose Lake in East Bay. I went up with Don Andrews on Sunday [August 28] and we took a canoe tour around the bay. We talked to a few residents to ask if they had seen the Loon with fishing line. One reported a Loon preening and pulling out some of its summer feathers. We went all the way to the end of the bay not seeing a single Loon. Then going over by the inlet, we saw a single Loon, but there was no fishing line on this bird. Then we saw a pair out in the middle of the lake fishing, and they didn’t have fishing line on them either. Another pair popped up in front of the Higby Lodge property, and we didn’t find line on them, but one was banded.


There was a storm brewing to the north, so we went back in before we got wet a second time that week. We were all loaded, and six Loons fishing appeared right in front of the dock. One must have gotten a fish that one of the others was after because when they all came up, it was fight time. Two males (and then a third male joining one of the others) all rose up in penguin fight mode and came charging at each other. However, they flared off without hitting, like a false charge. Then they all went back to fishing together. One of these Loons had some feathers off the side of its head. Maybe the person [who reported the Loon being tangled in fishing line] saw this and thought it was a lure or plug on this bird. Don got some great action shots and I saw the banded bird, but I still didn’t get the colors needed to identify that Loon.

Gary Lee with baby Milly Jade.

Some of the little songbirds have already gone south, and others are getting some new feathers in preparation for their flight. These birds are mostly silent during this time as they are not as fast getting away from predators, so they are in the silent running mode. The hummers and Monarch butterflies will be on the move soon. They have been working my big bee balm patches and the tall cup plants along with the bees. We will not be banding hummers at Stillwater on Labor Day weekend.


My dahlias (from tubers donated to the Old Forge Garden Club by Harry Rissetto each Spring) are doing great this summer. I hope others are having the same luck with theirs. The club will be having their plant sale at the Old Forge Library on Friday, September 9 from 10 a.m. to noon. You can come up from the lakefront after watching the start of the 90-Miler Canoe Classic, and get some plants and seeds for your garden.


Our granddaughter, Emily Peterson, and her husband, Kris, came up for the weekend with their new baby, Milly Jade, who is only six weeks old, and she had her first trip to the Adirondacks. It’s been a long time since there was a little baby in the house, and it was nice they could come up and join us. Milly liked the Adirondack air, and she had her eyes looking around at all the new things she was seeing, including us. Emily’s sister, Rachel, and her friend, Chris Tenae, came up for a few days as well. They walked most of the trails in the area and played golf in Inlet a couple times. The whole crew also went to watch the entertainment in the town park on Saturday night [August 27]. It was good times, good eats, and good stories for a few days with some of the Rochester family.


A nice hike to Cascade Falls with water going over it in August, but that’s another story. See ya.


Photo at top: Six Loons in Big Moose. Photo by Don Andrews.

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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. Bob Meyer says:

    Congratulations on the new great granddaughter!
    A beautiful post all around.
    Thank you.

  2. Smitty says:

    I’ve been enjoying your weekly report. Keep up the good work. We recently checked out the x/c ski trails at Fern Park. Looks nice. Are we allowed to ski with a well behaved dog off leash?

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