Saturday, January 20, 2024

Army troop of turkeys in yard, 130 mallard ducks in Inlet channel

Tufted titmouse

Winter has arrived a couple of months late, and the snowmobilers and skiers finally have enough snow to play on. This last three inches of snow that came yesterday morning [Jan. 14] was the best snow we have had all winter (and [we had] no rain following it when it stopped.) I saw a few people skiing down the trail behind the house and heard many snowmobiles going up the road out front. Sitting in my chair upstairs, I can see their lights coming down Limekiln Road from near the top of the hill to the ski trail parking lot. I know when it snows, as I can see the lights of the town crew plowing the road in the dark and I can also see them as they are plowing out the parking lot right from my bedroom window.

It was a real mess a couple of times last week. The first time, we had about two inches of snow and then about an inch of rain on top of that. The wind took out the power here for about twelve hours, but I read that some folks in Jefferson County were still out of power last night. [During] that first storm, [the wind] blew all night and I was surprised that more trees had not come down. Then Saturday night, [Jan. 13] the wind blew almost as hard all night when we got just an inch of snow and then more rain until early morning…but we did not lose power. That stuff did not like to come out of my snowblower so I had lots of clean up [to do] with my scoop along the driveway and out by the road it would not touch that…so I had to scoop all that. Anything that was pushed in piles is now frozen solid and probably will not be moved until spring.


It was four degrees this morning, Jan. 15,  and I saw some ice fishermen out on Fourth Lake. I hope they tested the ice before going out, as one man was saved by Forest Ranger Laymon, and one man drowned as they went out to ice fish last week in Otsego County on Basswood Pond on just an inch of ice. With the ups-and-downs of the temperatures (and on-and-off rain) please check any ice you plan to go out on, so you do not suffer the same fate.

Mallard Ducks in a channel

Mallard Ducks in the Inlet Channel. Photo by Gary Lee.

I relate a story of my brother, Bob, who passed nearly a year ago now. He came home from Air Force basic training in Texas around Christmas time and he had a ’56 red and white Chevy. He drove up to Putnam Station on Lake Champlain to go ice fishing. We had driven out on the ice there many times, but later in the season. He never checked the ice and drove out to set up his tip-ups. He chopped the first hole not far from the car and there was only about five to six inches of ice. He wondered how his car was still on top of the ice. He got everything back in the car and he drove with his car door open all the way back to the place he got on, without going through. I believe he checked the ice each time before going out again, as the angels were with him that day.


My Turkey population at the feeders has increased a couple times in the last week. I had 23 and then a couple new ones showed up by themselves. A couple of days later, I saw them coming down the ski trail which curves around going out toward the road. It looked like an Army troop coming in double time( some running, and some wing-rowing to keep up) as far as I could see. I kept counting as they entered the feeding area and got 31. Then just last night, I had a couple new ones come and they were toms with beards that had not been here before…so now it is up to 33.


The year [that the] DEC came and cannon-netted some Turkeys by the ski trail, I was feeding 68 birds. It was like going out to the chicken coop when I worked at the farm as a kid, but I do not get to pick any eggs. A pair of Tufted Titmouse have been coming regularly, along with more than 20 Black-Capped Chickadees. The Carolina Wren is still coming out from under the back porch and snacking on the suet cake (and on the ground.) I am sure it is hugging the cellar wall for heat during these cold nights to conserve his body heat.


I did the Duck Count in [the] Inlet Channel in a snowstorm this morning (with more on the Duck Count in Region 7 next week.) There were 130 Mallard Ducks and six Black Ducks in the open water of the channel between Fifth and Fourth Lakes in Inlet. At times it was snowing so hard, you could not see the ducks through the snowflakes.


The Town of Inlet is planning a 10th anniversary attempt for the One Square Mile of Hope on Fourth Lake, but that’s another story. See ya.


Photo at top: Tufted Titmouse. Photo by Gary Lee.

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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. Raymond Roch-Jean Saint-Pierre says:

    I really would have liked to see photos of that turkey flock/troop marching down the ski trail as well since that was the headline??
    I also remember when, back in the 1950s and 1960s, it was extremely common for not just ice fishers to drive onto the ice. When the ferries to Vermont weren’t operating because Lake Champlain had frozen over completely between Grand Isle and Cumberland Head or Crown Point and Chimney Point, we’d drive over the ice to Vermont. I believe that the last such trips were made in the 1970s, but I’d gone South to North Carolina for graduate study in 1974 by then.

  2. Boreas says:

    Lean year for turkeys in my immediate area. Mast crop must be at a low.

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