Saturday, September 30, 2023

Recording birds in two counties while away for Grandson Jacob’s wedding

Great Granddaughter Milly picking roses

Fall weather has finally hit here in the North Country, with the first frost on Thursday, [September] 21, but it was light enough that my wide leaf plants didn’t get hit. My bed of nasturtiums, which have very big leaves and hundreds of flowers, wasn’t touched. Not too many bees (or other bugs) doing any pollinating this time of the year to make seeds for next year. I did see my last hummingbird on Friday morning [September 22] which gave us a new record for Eight Acre Wood by seven days longer than ever before. We were down Rochester way [on] Saturday and Sunday, [September 23 and 24,] so that record will have to stand for now. Maybe they have adapted to global warming faster than we know, staying this late.

There are still several monarch butterflies in chrysalis (and some still caterpillars,) which probably won’t make it unless we get warmer days with lots of sunshine. Both stages need temperatures above 65 [degrees] to eat on the milkweeds or grow inside the chrysalis. Time is getting short for them. They have to feed on some of the fall wildflowers, as they travel all the way to Mexico. I saw lots of fall asters still in bloom on the way back from Rochester yesterday [September 24.] When I was tagging them, I caught most of my butterflies along highways (where it is open and the wildflowers grow.) They follow many of the east to west highways in their trip westward. I wouldn’t move too far some days…just find a big patch of the big, blue New England asters…and the monarchs just kept coming through.


If you missed one with the net, they would fly up and head west looking for a safer spot to feed. I saw several adults around the wildflowers at the Rocky Mountain parking area last week. I tagged
several adults there a couple years back. Hikers would come down off the mountain and ask what I was doing, and I said, “Tagging butterflies.” Some folks even got to tag a monarch before they left. I put tags on over fifty [monarch butterflies] that afternoon. The next day, I put on over fifty again down opposite Daiker’s driveway.


As I mentioned above, we spent the weekend down south of Rochester in and around the mountains just south of the Finger Lakes. It was like the back of beyond. If you didn’t have GPS, you
probably wouldn’t have found the farm where the wedding was held or the B and B [bed and breakfast] that we stayed in. We had guides most of the time, as we don’t have a cell phone [to use for directions.] We only made a couple wrong turns, [and] found our way to a beautiful spot in the hills. The rehearsal dinner was held at the Bristol Ski Mountain Resort, which is a place I had heard of, but never been to. [The resort was] just over the mountain from our B and B. The wedding venue was [also] just over the mountain from our B and B, [but] in the other direction. Jacob, Kourtney, and several family members had most of the tent venue set up and ready to go [on[ Friday afternoon [September 22,] just waiting for guests to arrive Saturday afternoon.

Jacob and Kourtney Bills and Family

Jacob and Kourtney Bills and Family. Photo by Nathan Lee.

We had a quick rehearsal and a trip to our B and B before the dinner…all guided of course. We got back to the B and B for the night, seeing a few deer along the way. I got up and birded near there and saw a few birds. There was a little brook that ran down along one side of the home and crossed the road below. There was a deep pool full of brook trout just below the culvert that crossed the road. [They were] looking to spawn, [and] showing their pretty colors. I tossed them a couple grasshoppers and they jumped for them. [I found a] party balloon along the road that came down. I needed a bag to pick up some butternuts, so I picked it up and underneath was a big American toad. We were right on the county lines of Livingston and Ontario Counties (venue in one, B and B in the other,) so I got to record birds in both counties while I was there.


The wedding was at 4 p.m., and it went off without a hitch. Little Great Granddaughter Milly came down the isle of white roses with her mother, Emily, and Aunt Rachel, and I think she nearly stole the show. Then the beautiful bride came down with her dad and he handed her off to Jacob. They had written their own ceremony, which was very nice. [Then they] exchanged vows and rings. Jacob got to kiss the bride in Hollywood fashion [and] they walked back down the isle of white roses. [According to] the weather map, rain was predicted to start [at] about 4:15 p.m., but it held off until after we were under the tent for the reception…and then it only sprinkled.


The temperature was a different story. The high was only 57 [degrees] with a sharp wind blowing right through the tent. Family pictures [were] taken and everyone moved under the tent with more clothes on (for those who had them.) They were introduced as husband and wife as they danced into the tent and kissed again. [There were a] few nice speeches given by Jacob’s Dad, Jacob’s best friend, and Kourtney’s best friend from college. The music started and Milly took the stage, dancing in front of the colored lights at only one year old. It was a great weekend and certainly not in any flatland that I saw. The glacier traveling south carved out those big Finger Lakes and the small ones to the west, leaving some very high hills in between. We wish that Jacob and Kourtney have a beautiful marriage together, and maybe have a couple little ones just like Milly. She is a peach in Great Grandpa’s eye.


Those leaves are coming on fast so get out that camera and take a few shots, but that’s another story. See ya.


Photo at top: Great Granddaughter Milly picking roses. Photo by Nathan 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."

2 Responses

  1. kim pope says:

    Milly is a cutie pie!!!

    such a beautiful family Gary !! you are blessed .

  2. Richard Daly says:

    Gary, Greetings from the Other NY, 100km S of Montreal. Sincere Congratulations on the wedding. I was last in that area … where the Senecas live, around 2002., It appears you have a half-smart cell-phone: doesn’t do GPS; just takes at call, makes a call … and that is all. Just like mine. I still have landline too. Charter/Spectrum gives it away because I have their internet and am a pri$oner of their cable tee-vee. I advise biz and others to make sure their caller ID is complete, otherwise we might never talk again, since Charter tech kills all suspicious calls before they reach my ans. machine. Those callers cannot conceive of life without ‘contacts’ – And so it was … down in The Southern Tier among those people at that time ./.

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