Saturday, January 14, 2023

Bizarre weather, clearing debris from trails, and banding over 175 Evening Grosbeaks

Still no winter weather in sight. [There is a] combination of rain and snow in the forecast during the next week, so the snow dancers better get back in action. Out west, California is getting hammered for the last two weeks and more [is] coming today (January 9). Five inches of rain [is] forecast across most of the state, with four to five feet of snow in the mountains…they just can’t get a break. They had lots of flooding from the first two storms, and now this one on top will cause mudslides from areas bare from the forest fires.

Seems that Florida and California, two of the most [populated] states, have been getting their share of the bad weather… along with Buffalo in New York. I’ll stay here in the Adirondacks, and take what nature serves up. We may get a couple feet of snow and temperatures well below zero, but we are used to that. Watching the college football game last night, the wind was blowing rain right under the roof of the stadium in Los Angeles. It was falling mostly on the TCU fans which more than dampened their evening, as TCU was getting trounced by Georgia. Many of the residents were also getting soaked again for the third time, with more in the forecast later this week.


The river channels in California aren’t made for much rainfall, but they are sure getting it and it has no place to go, as it heads back toward the ocean making its own channels. I’ve been working on getting out some beavers who have flooded a major snowmobile trail in the area. So far, we have gotten the trail passable. Now all we need is snow (and a lot of it) as the trail is back to bare ground. Another place that could use some snow and winter conditions is at the World University Games being held in Lake Placid and other venues in the area. The ice events will be mostly okay as they can freeze the tracks and rinks for the skating, hockey, and curling events. [However,] the skiing events involve snow making, and the weather hasn’t [cooperated].

Foot stool cover. Photo by Gary Lee.

Looking at the weather for the next few days, it doesn’t look good for these events. You just can’t plan these things, even in the North Country. I’ve also been working on some of the local ski trails, draining water off, clearing trees and lots of little stuff that just keeps falling in every windstorm. Every time I go out, I take my pick stick to flip the little stuff out of the trail. [I use] my axe to cut out the bigger stuff and then someone else will have to come along to get the big blowdowns that keep coming down in the wind that comes with every storm.So, if you’re out and about when we get snow, be aware there is debris on many of the trails that haven’t been cleared.


Many people got flowers for Christmas, and they are mostly just starting to bloom. Karen’s amaryllis is in full bloom, with another flower sprout coming up alongside. I had to stake the one in bloom, as it got too big for the pot. The rubber tree that I got from my daughter is over five feet tall, and it’s adding a new leaf each week. I may have to move it into the living room where the ceilings are higher. I haven’t staked that yet, but I may have to. I also got a new indoor plant at our root exchange, which they said will grow as tall as the rubber tree and it has nice flowers. It grows about an inch each week and it will need staking for sure. [I] never did get the name of it, but that will come when it rows out of its pot.


I banded over 175 Evening Grosbeaks, and I still have all my fingers. They are still coming in strong to my feeders, [and] eating forty pounds of sunflower seed each week. Out on the trails, I don’t see many birds except for a few Pileated Woodpeckers and an occasional Black-Capped Chickadee. My daughter made me a nice covering for my foot stool with one of my favorite birds (the Black-Capped Chickadee) in four squares on top, thanks Erin. She is pretty handy with that sewing machine.


The duck count is this weekend, but that’s another story. See ya.


Photo at top: Amaryllis. 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."

6 Responses

  1. Boreas says:


    I hope you have a source for cheap sunflower seed. Pretty damn expensive in the stores where I normally buy it. unfortunately I don’t get enough sun where I live to grow my own.

    • Boreas says:

      As a matter-of-fact, I have switched to mixed hulled sunflower, chips, and safflower seed (No-waste Blend) since I hate spending $1.00/lb for whole sunflower seeds that are half hull. But in open feeders, black oil or sunflower seeds are pretty-much required – especially for Evening Grosbeaks. Fuzzy-tailed rats will also thank you.

  2. Beverly Stellges says:

    I have my usual black oil bird feeders hanging, about six of them. Had lots of birds and had to fill them almost every other day. But after the most recent storms of snow, rain and wind, I barely have a few chickadees and two downies at the suet plus the grosbeaks. Haven’t filled them since before New Years weekend. What’s happened to my birds???

    • Boreas says:

      Lack of snow cover opens up other feeding opportunities. Either your neighbors have better offerings, or your friends are doing fine on natural offerings. Variety is better for them in the long run anyway.

  3. Mike says:

    We are in the middle of the worlds largest bird flu outbreak killing millions of wild and domestic birds and people are handling and banding birds. So irresponsible.

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