Saturday, January 21, 2023

Follow that Quacking: Observing 75 Mallards and one Black Duck in Inlet

Mallard ducks on water

Things at Eight Acre Wood look about the same as they did last week, with only an inch of new snow to make the landscape white. That shows the critters who have been wandering around the yard. [Some of these include] several deer, a coyote, a fisher, a mink, an otter, a snowshoe hare, one turkey, several varieties of mice, a pine marten, a couple red squirrels, a flying squirrel, ravens, crows, and a Bald Eagle stopped by for a snack on the dam. Most of them also got caught on one of my trail cameras, as many of them are night travelers. In all my hikes, I thought I might even see a bear track, but I guess they are smarter than that. There is nothing for them to eat right now, so they better stay napping.

This weather sure has been the pits, and no one knows this better than the businesses that depend on snow to keep them running. About the only thing that did tighten up was the ice on the lakes, which gave ice anglers something to do. I’ve heard of (and seen) some nice catches out of the Fulton Chain and Limekiln Lake. Check those regulations, as things have changed in the last year about limits and sizes of fish to keep. After getting the early snow, the deer have had it easy for the last month. [Now, there is not] much for them to eat and the crust on what snow we have, makes it hard for them to get to the fern fronds…which is about all there is to eat. If you have any shrubbery, it needs to be protected as they will eat anything green right now.


The people out in California are getting more rain and snow than they need, all in a couple of weeks. They did need the rain, but not all at once like it has been coming. It has caused twenty-two deaths and many power outages as there has been strong winds coming with these storms. [There has been] much damage to roads and bridges all over the state, and more rain is predicted for the middle of this week. When these storms swept across the country, between the warm weather to the south and the cold to the north, there were several tornadoes which did much damage and caused the loss of life in Alabama, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Georgia.

Fisher on the dam

Fisher on the dam. Photo by Gary Lee.

Over one hundred homes were wiped out in one town. Several of the tornadoes were EF-2 with winds of 111 MPH, and some [were] EF-3 with winds of 136 MPH which stripped trees of their limbs and took roofs off several homes and businesses. Many were completely blown away and only nine people lost their lives, which is unreal when you look at the damage caused by these tornadoes. A State of Emergency has been declared in both areas to try and get these folks back on their feet. Most of these weather-related storms are coming due to climate change that is all over the world when you look at many other super storms happening everywhere.


The duck count is going [on, and] I checked all the open water in my area on Saturday [January 14]. All the local ducks must have been in the channel in Inlet, as I found no other ducks in all the other open water after an all-day check. Walking out to the channel in Inlet, I heard quacking from the parking lot. Sure enough, there were ducks [including] 75 Mallards and one Black Duck which I didn’t flush out like last year. I photographed them as they swam slowly by me going downstream. I took several photos, and then an Eastern Kingfisher flew by giving me some chatter. I had reports of one in the area and maybe it was the same one I saw there on the duck count last year, his winter home. Why waste all that energy, when you can stay up north for the winter?


After checking there, I traveled into Herkimer County and went down Hollywood Road, checking the open water in the channel…and not a duck (or goose) to be seen. There had been eight geese and
some mallards and hooded mergansers there during the week, but not today [January 17]. I [also] checked the lakefront in Old Forge and saw no water birds, only a lonely crow. I went to several places along the open Moose River and found no water birds, only another lonely crow and a raven. Then I walked down the Lock and Dam Trail to the dam, and only saw a few chickadees.


More on the duck count next week, but that’s another story. See ya.


Photo at top: Mallards in the channel in Inlet, NY. 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."

One Response

  1. Roger Kessel says:

    Thanks very much for these reports and your musings—very informative and entertaining. Look forward to them every week. Please keep them coming. Roger Kessel

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