The mountainsides and lake shorelines are looking a lot grayer than they were a week ago, as most of the leaves are on the ground. The beech [trees] and what few oak [trees we have] in the area are still holding on to most of their leaves. The birds and animals have been working hard, collecting and eating the beechnuts. A few of the beech trees along my driveway have been a busy place with squirrels, chipmunks, crows, ravens and blue jays working overtime in the treetops. Many of these critters are putting these [beechnuts] in storage, [while] others are eating them on the spot. One of my owl nets is right under one of these trees. Those burrs (that hold the nuts) make a mess when they get into the nets. You must pick the burr apart to get them out of the mesh.
Talking about my Saw Whet Owl nets…I got them up [on] Sunday, [Oct. 15] and we had light rain most of the night, so no owls were caught. I did have a Barred Owl come in to check out the tape caller, thinking it was going to get an easy meal. But [it] left when I made a net check. By this time last year, I had caught and banded ten or twelve Saw Whet [Owls.] Normally, I put up the owl nets when the little birds show up at the feeder…and that didn’t happen until Saturday, [Oct. 14.] A big flock of Slate-Colored Juncos were all over the ground and I said, “It’s time.” [We’ve had] rain showers ever since, so I hope that held up the Saw Whet [Owl] migration and I didn’t miss them.
The nets have been hanging on the net poles since yesterday morning, [Tuesday, Oct. 17.] [A] little buck put his little rack up and got it stuck in the net. It was like he was using it as a marking place, as he thrashed around, tearing a big hole in my net. He is still wearing some of the netting on his antlers, which seemed to tick him off…but he wouldn’t go away. I had to replace that $150 net with a new one. I put them right up to the top of the six-foot poles. The problem is that there are beechnuts on the ground under the nets which they have been feeding on. [There are also] a couple crab apple trees that are full of fruit by the nets. One other time, a deer went right through one of my nets making a gaping hole, taking down poles and all…what a mess.
I did have one net near the feeders that I kept up all day, [and I caught] little birds and some in the Potter traps. You never know what you might catch when these little birds are moving through. That was the case on Sunday, [Oct. 15] when I caught 19 Slate-Colored Juncos, nine new Black-Capped Chickadees, [including] one other that I banded last fall, two Tufted Titmouse, one Brown Creeper, and one Yellow-Rumped Warbler, which escaped without getting a band. There were a couple Song Sparrows around, and I caught one of those on Monday, [Oct. 16] along with a few more Juncos.
Karen came home from the [Old Forge] Library on Thursday night [Oct. 12] after a belated birthday party, and she was exhausted. She did almost nothing on Friday [Oct. 13,] so she could rest up for our trip to Williamson (near Rochester) for Mitch [my son] and Jessi’s wedding on Saturday. Well, Saturday didn’t turn out any better for her, so we had to cancel that trip. She tested positive for Covid later that day, and she was a year-older hurting lady. I stayed [as] far away as I could in the same house, working on my nets outside most of the day. I guess I didn’t stay far enough away, [because] as of this morning, [Oct. 18] I had a positive test…so sleeping in the chair upstairs wasn’t far enough. I have a lot of aches and pains, but nothing more than a bad cold so far.
The wedding went off without a hitch and they only had light rain on their canopies. We got a nice video of the service and some of the other activities that day. We hope [that] they and her two young children have a great marriage and [that] they are happy the rest of their lives together.
Looking at the tamaracks on the way to Old Forge today [Oct. 18,] they were very pretty on the backside of Fifth Lake, at the west end of Bald Mountain Pond, and near the turn from [State] Route 28 on to Rondaxe Road. One of the best places in the area is right at the culvert at the Red River in the Moose River Area (taken from the downside.) I try to get in there at least once this time of year and snap a couple shots. If you are driving through Inlet, stop in the parking lot and get a photo of the gnome cut from the big pine stub in Tony Harper’s [restaurant] side yard. I talked to the chainsaw carver and his wife when they were about halfway finished. It seems they hit some really big nails in that stub and almost canceled the project. [However,] they got them out, completed the gnome, and painted it.
If the rain stops, I may catch some Saw Whets, but that’s another story. See ya.
Photo at top: Tamaracks at Red River. Photo by Gary Lee.