Saturday, November 19, 2022

Photographing Election Day eclipse, banding over 100 American Goldfinches

Clocks are all set back an hour, so that sunset comes earlier now. If you are out and about it is always good to have a headlamp or flashlight in your pack, and not rely on using your cell phone light to get out of the woods. So many this summer have been stuck on a trail somewhere because they ran out of light. Plan your hike or hunt, so that you can get out of the woods before dark. The eclipse of the moon on Election Day morning was very nice. I saw it start to cover the moon a little after 3 a.m., and by 4 a.m. the moon had a pretty orange glow. I went down to Fourth Lake to take photos, as it was too low in the sky to get them at Eight Acre Wood. The wind was a little nasty coming off the lake, so I stood behind the car door to take the photos through the big pines at the Inlet beach (as the state boat launch is still closed off.)

The election is over, but some counts in the western states are still going on [as of this writing on Nov 15]. The Environmental Bond Act for New York State passed statewide, but four Adirondack Park counties voted against the bond, including Herkimer, Hamilton, Fulton, and Lewis Counties. New York Governor Kathy Hochul won reelection, but several Republican House of Representatives won seats in the state. The Federal Senate is still in control of the Democrats, so the big red wave didn’t happen as planned by the Republicans. However, it looks like they may have won control of the House of Representatives by a few when all the counting is done.

Sunrise at Eight Acre Wood. Photo by Gary Lee.

Many birds are still moving through the area, and some may stay the winter. I had over fifty American Goldfinch under the feeder one morning, and big flock of Evening Grosbeaks came about the same time. I’ve banded more than one hundred of these finches and a few grosbeaks, which give quite a bite if you give them a chance. So far, no scars or Band-Aids required. I also have a female Northern Cardinal around the feeders, but it has escaped hitting the net or gotten into the Potter traps. All the White-Throated Sparrows (but one) had flown south for the winter and only a few Slate-Colored Juncos are still around. I did catch one American Tree Sparrow, and most times they stick around through the winter. I had a Brown Tree Creeper working on the suet cakes, but didn’t catch that either. They are even smaller than the Golden-Crowned Kinglet in hand, and take one of the 0A bands, the smallest ones I have. I caught a few new Black-Capped Chickadees, most are hatch year birds, and I had several recaptures from several different years, back to 2014.


The White-Breasted Nuthatches must have had a good breeding season, as I’ve banded several of those and a few Red-Breasted Nuthatches. I don’t know if you have bought any seeds to feed the birds, but that price has gone up just like food prices…maybe even more. Fifty pounds of black oil sunflower seeds was $41 at Bailey’s Mill in Boonville and $31 for forty pounds at Tractor Supply. I heard that there was some locally-grown seed at the Holland Patent Farmer’s Co-Op, which had a better price of $40 for fifty pounds. Much of this sunflower seed had been raised in Ukraine (as did other grains,) but they have been limited as to what
they could raise and ship with the war going on there, causing this price increase. If you get a big flock of grosbeaks coming to your feeders, you may have to bite the bullet or not feed.

Hurricane Nicole crossed Florida midweek and then went up through Georgia and the Carolinas. It eventually dropped a few inches of rain up this way. From what I saw, it came in as a Category One hurricane, but it had a very wide storm circle. This did lots of damage up the coastline of Florida with the storm surge, high tide, and a full moon washing many coastal homes off their piers and foundations. Predictions are that there might be four or five more possible hurricanes to come ashore before the end of the month.


Regular Big Game Season has been open for four weeks now and a few nice bucks have been taken, but not too many bears that I’ve heard of. Even with the warm temperatures, they may have gone into hibernation with not much wild food available. Why waste energy looking, and just go to sleep. This year, hunters are required to wear a fluorescent orange or pink hat (or vest,) but many hunters I’ve seen walking down the trail past the house have neither. Where we hunted out in Colorado, it was required to wear both for several years now.


Tracking snow is coming, but that’s another story. See ya.


Photo at top: Eclipse of the moon. 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."

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