We are having the tail end of the winter that didn’t happen here anyway. The folks out in the mountains of California and Nevada are looking at over 16 feet of snow in many places, with more coming this week with another atmospheric river coming ashore. Their reservoirs should be more than full when all this melts. Down south in Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia fifteen tornadoes ripped through parts of these states, killing 26 and leaving hundreds homeless.
Rescuers continue to search for loved ones of residents of a Mississippi town destroyed by a tornado that was on the ground for over ninety miles. In Rolling Fork, a delta town of 2,000, hardly anyone escaped the storm without losing someone they knew or loved. More storms are going through that same area later this week, with more tornadoes and heavy rain forecast all the way to the east coast.
With temperatures up in the 60s a couple days this week, many birds thought it was surely spring and started coming north. I had several Red-Wing Blackbirds come to the feeders along with Common Grackles, Starlings, and Song Sparrows. They must battle with the more than fifty Evening Grosbeaks that are still feeding here each day. I now have banded more than three hundred Evening Grosbeaks during the winter.
Back when they came down in big numbers years ago all over the state, several banders did a thousand and two thousand of these birds. My first master bander, J.M.C. Peterson, told me of many days when he did a couple hundred in an afternoon. Must have been some nipped fingers those days. I did catch a few Red Wings and Grackles. I think I have caught all the Song Sparrows that have stopped by. I haven’t seen the White-Throated Sparrow that spent the winter here for a couple days now, so I guess he traveled further north where he came from. It will be interesting to see if he returns next winter to his brush pile rather than traveling further south like he should.
The Canada Goose population has been going up in Old Forge Pond and the channel from First Lake to the pond. The most I’ve counted has been 28, with several already paired up, feeding by themselves. A few Ring-Billed Gulls have also been seen on the pond. I did count one Bald Eagle there one day watching the ducks. A few Mallards have been in the channel, and I saw a Hooded Merganser there yesterday [March 26]. There were also two Turkey Vultures sitting on a light pole one day when I was going into Old Forge. [I] just took a trip to Boonville and saw several American Robins along the roadsides, starting in White Lake all the way to Boonville. [I] also saw two pair of Mourning Doves picking grit along the road. Then on the way home, there were Robins roadside right into Old Forge, even one north of there by Rondaxe Road, so they are certainly on the move.
When I got home, there were over forty Common Grackles, ten Red-Wing Blackbirds, and three Brown-Headed Cowbirds at the feeders. I reset the potter traps before going to PT and caught a new Evening Grosbeak and a new Song Sparrow, but none of the Blackbirds. I got a few pictures of them, but none of them are wearing bands yet…maybe tomorrow. Since it has started to snow some more, that may drive them back to the feeders. The Maple Moss [Sugarworks] sugar shack was boiling over the weekend with a few visitors [during] one of the March Maple Weekends. I’m sure most of them went home with some of the sweet stuff after seeing it being made while they watched. This should be some of the lighter color (early syrup,) which some say is better.
My friend, Ellie George, over in Paradox Lake was doing her second boiling this weekend. She had enough sap to boil down a month ago when we had that first warm spell just from trees around her home. I did have a male fisher come for a visit to the dam site just before supper one night, where it dug up the deer leg that was buried in the snow. It gave me time to get my camera and take a few photos before it ran down over the dam, [and] out of sight. This is the last week of March, so let’s hope it doesn’t go out like a lion…as it came in as a lamb.
There is a full moon next Wednesday [April 5] and lots of times when there is a full moon, there are big changes in temperature and weather, but that’s another story. See ya.
Photo at top: Fisher. Photo by Gary Lee.