This Covid thing really kicked me in the butt, so I slept through the weekend. I guess I didn’t miss anything other than the opening weekend of big game season. There were some wet hunters for sure, as the rain (if only a drizzle) never stopped. I did have enough energy to put back up my Saw Whet Owl nets late Sunday [October 22], but the drizzle continued after dark, so I never tried to catch any that night. The little birds were all over the ground under my feeders and a few new ones came in daily. I caught a few in the Potter traps and the only ones I’ve missed were three Pine Siskins that were around yesterday morning, October 23.
My friend, Ellie George on Paradox Lake, said she had over sixty Pine Siskins in the trees over her home yesterday morning. I put up a single net by the feeders and opened the Potter traps, but missed catching the Siskins. I did get a good variety of birds late Sunday in the drizzle and early Monday morning [October 23] after it cleared. I banded White-Throated Sparrows, White Crown Sparrow, Song Sparrows, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, American Goldfinch, Brown Creeper, Golden-Crowned Kinglet, over twenty Black-Capped Chickadees, and over fifty Slate-Colored Juncos. The Brown Creeper and Golden-Crowned Kinglet take the smallest bands that I have. The Kinglet was a stunning male with a beautiful red and yellow crest on top of its little head. It was the last bird I took out of the net before dark on Monday.
The weather had cleared, so I put up the owl nets at 7 p.m., and turned on the Saw Whet Owl tape, hoping the deer would stay clear if I was out checking enough times. [I saw] a beautiful half moon to the south. This was the first clear night we had, so I thought the owls would be on the move…and I was right. First check, I had a nice female which I determined by weight and wing cord. [I put the] band on and away she went on her journey further south. [During the] next check, I had two little owls, one by the caller and the other in the side net. I bagged one and held the other in hand for processing. The one in hand got a hold of one of my fingers with her feet, which didn’t feel very good.
I got free and put a band on her, [and] measured her wing. [Then I] looked at the feathers on the underside of the wing (where you can determine their age), put her in the measuring water bottle, and got her weight. Then out the window she went, up into the dark night. [I] processed the second owl, another female. You don’t catch many males while banding these little owls being called to the tape. I got one out of 22 I did last fall and none of [the] seven total owls last night when I pulled the nets at eleven. There were two owls calling to the tape when I pulled the nets, but it was time for bed and the temperature was still dropping.
It was a hard frost, as all my dahlia plants are black this morning. I cut all the buds yesterday that were starting to open and put them in water indoors, so some may open. I had three big red ones and two white ones, which may open. I cut the one rose bud left (which opened overnight) and several toad lilies which all seem to be opening with the inside heat. Guess it’s time to cut the plants back during these next few warm days…which may be our last hurrah of fall.
The deer are starting to chase so watch out on the local highways, so you are not wearing one on the hood of your car. A moose was also seen on [State Route] 28 between Inlet and Old Forge and swimming in Fourth Lake, so it is roaming around the area. I haven’t seen [any sign] of the bear in my yard lately, but there are plenty of beechnuts which will keep them out later than normal. They went to bed early last year, as there was no mass crop to keep them out and about.
With all the fires in Canada, it is hard to say what happened to the bird populations up there this summer. Several could have lost their nests in the fires…only time will tell. I did have a single Evening Grosbeak a couple weeks ago, and nothing since. There isn’t a great cone crop, as I think the wet weather kept several trees and plants from producing any cones or seeds.
Cleaning up the gardens, but that’s another story. See ya.
Photo at top: Golden-Crowed Kinglet. Photo by Gary Lee.