Saturday, March 25, 2023

Sweet Maple Syrup, A Fishing Otter, & An Unexpected Visitor

Eric Sutherland's Maple Moss Sugarworks Sugar House.

The first day of Spring has arrived with only a new inch of snow and 18 degrees on the thermometer…(better than the three inches of snow and strong winds the day before, but no loss of power.) Many others are still struggling with more water and snow than they can deal with. Others [are dealing with] with damage from high winds and tornadoes that came across the country during the last week. Many in the south had a hard freeze which will affect many flowering trees, shrubs, and some crops that were already up.

The Saint Patrick’s Day parade went off on schedule on Main Street in Old Forge in a steady rain and the temperature at 40 degrees. [There were] lots of spectators under umbrellas and raincoats enjoying the parade, but not me. I had my PT and got out of town as town was filling up. I went via Hollywood Road to check out the geese and ducks in the channel from First Lake to Old Forge Pond. There were two Mallard Ducks and three Canada Geese in the open water and an otter fishing alone in a hole in the ice with a nice bullhead.


The DEC announced that the 2022 hunting season ties a record for the safest-ever year for hunting incidents. 2022 tied 2021 with the lowest number of hunting-related shooting incidents since record-keeping began. DEC ECO’s investigated nine hunting related incidents in 2022, including one fatality. The one fatality was a self- inflicted turkey hunter incident. Much of this success is the result of hunter safety courses given for several years by ECO’s and many volunteer hunter safety trainers. Five rules taught by these trainers are treat every firearm as if it was loaded, keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, identify your target and what is beyond, keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire, and wear hunter orange or pink.

An otter with a bullhead.

An otter with a bullhead. Photo by Gary Lee.

To go along with this, the DEC released the black bear harvest for 2022 which is estimated at 1,318 black bears. [A total of] 458 black bears were taken in the Northern Zone and an estimated 860 black bears [were] taken in the Southern Zone. Fourteen-percent less bears [were] taken in the Northern Zone and 9-percent less bears [were] taken in the Southern Zone. Only 10-percent fewer bears [were] taken in the total harvest than the five- year average. [A total of] 348 black bears [were] taken by bow, 234 [were] taken in the early season, and 274 [were] taken in the regular season in the Southern Zone. No black bears [were] taken in the early season in the Northern Zone. That must be a first, as there sure were lots of hunters out there in the woods locally.


Eric Sutherland got his Maple Moss Sugarworks in operation over the weekend and the sap was running quite well. He will be open next weekend for visitors also and you can stop in for your maple
syrup supply. He is there to explain his operation and see it being made from the tree to a jar in your hand. This cold snap and snow put a stop to the birds moving north, but some got caught midway. I had a Song Sparrow show up Friday [March 17] in my Potter trap, so it got banded and it is keeping company with my White-Throated Sparrow that has been here all winter. I still [have] a flock of Evening Grosbeaks coming daily, and I now have banded over three hundred of them.


I had another visitor, Bob, who drove in my unplowed driveway in ten inches of wet snow and got stuck in my turn around. I looked out from my computer and there was a big blue pickup [truck] nearly up the house, stuck sideways right by my bird net. I was just about to go out and blow that wet stuff out, [and] now I had a purpose. Karen asked him several times why [he] drove down an unplowed driveway, as we might not have been home.


Bob and I didn’t have much of a visit, as we shoveled and scooped snow for a while, and I blew out the packed-down driveway. I cut the ties to my bird net to save that, got my truck out, and put a chain and come along to Bob’s truck. I got him back about eight feet. He jockeyed his truck until he could pull up to the garage, and get headed out after two hours [of] work. Bob may not visit again, as he waved goodbye going out the driveway.


More visits to Eric’s Maple Moss Sugarworks, but that’s another story. See ya.

Photo at top: Eric Sutherland’s Maple Moss Sugarworks Sugar House. Photo by Gary Lee.


Related Stories

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."

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Wait! Before you go:

Catch up on all your Adirondack
news, delivered weekly to your inbox