Saturday, January 27, 2024

Turkeys airborne in every direction & Amaryllis “light bulbs”

Banded Carolina Wren

Last Sunday [Jan. 14], the temperatures started off at a low of 17 [degrees] and went down daily every morning to a low of -8 [degrees] here this Sunday [Jan. 21.] [We had] some new snow nearly every morning (the most being five inches on Thursday.) This gave the skiers and snowmobilers something to play on (if they could stand the cold temperatures and wind.) There were a few accidents on the trails and highways. The most dramatic was a small car that passed a chip truck tractor trailer over near Blue Mountain. Before getting back in [the] lane, it was hit by the state plow truck. The car was cut in half as it hit the plow of the plow truck broadside. I heard the driver of the car only got a black eye from the accident…lucky guy. This was all caught on camera from the DOT plow truck.

[Here’s] an interesting story that happened the week before Christmas. I was trying to get some late amaryllis flowers for friends and neighbors. I had gone to Lowville to check out the Walmart and Tractor Supply where I had found plants a year ago. There were two growing out of the box at Tractor Supply, so I passed on those. I went to Walmart, where they had over fifty at this time last year, but even though their inventory showed they had some on the floor, there were none. They had a couple hundred poinsettias, but no amaryllis. So, I struck out on that trip (other than getting more bird seed.) I came home and called Walmart in Utica and they said they didn’t have any in stock.


So, I called Lowe’s and asked the person answering the phone if they had any amaryllis bulbs. I didn’t even get a chance to say they were flowers before I was transferred to the lighting and bulbs department. The phone rang over twenty times and then went to a busy signal. Well. it was the week before Christmas, and I am sure they had answered the phone enough. Luckily, I had a doctor’s appointment in Utica that week so I would check around when I was down there and see if anyone had some plants. I went to Lowe’s and in the plant section (or nearby) there was an employee who said, “I don’t work in that section, but there were some right here in the aisle yesterday.”


Karen’s Amaryllis. Photo by Gary Lee.

Well, I was getting close as I looked down in a back corner and there were about forty amaryllis and some paper whites in beautiful pots. I filled the cart as I had a list of how many I needed to fill my order. One lady came along and asked if I was going to leave any and I did, ten [of them]. When I went to the check out there was a guy there who had been looking for a late present and he said, “Those [are] exactly right. where did you get them?” I told him, but said, “You better hurry, as there were only ten left.” I have seen pictures of several that I gave away that are just starting to bloom, including Karen’s.


This week all thirty-three turkeys were here, and they had eaten all the corn I put out for them. Some were in the crab apple trees eating the fruit [and] others were on the ground, picking up the dropped fruit. I went out to give them more corn, but some of them panicked and it was turkeys being airborne in every direction. Some landed in trees nearby, others just left the country. When they get broken up like that, it takes them a few days to get all back together. They have been coming in nine or ten at a time, but not the whole group until today, Jan. 22. This afternoon, there were over thirty feeding under the feeders, so there are a couple stragglers that haven’t found the flock yet. I hope they survived the cold nights without any food. They do bud from the treetops just like grouse, but that takes lots of energy the way the wind has been blowing.


The temperature got up in the 20s today, so I set both Potter traps to catch some of the Blue Jay flock that has been getting bigger by the day. I had thirteen today and caught three of them. My little Carolina Wren has been sneaking out [both] early and late to get on the suet cakes and catching a snack when the big birds haven’t been around. It was near the Potter traps feeding and decided that there was something in there that it wanted, and I caught it. This is the first Carolina Wren I’ve caught since October of 2014 when one was moving through, and I caught it in my nets.


Some Purple Finch have moved in from somewhere as I haven’t had any in weeks. Today [however,] I had twelve on the platform at the same time, so there may have been more in the trees. I heard them calling yesterday, but couldn’t locate them high in the trees. I did get three Hooded Mergansers in the Moose River below the TOBIE Trail bridge. [Also,] Diane Bowes got six Mallards in the outlet of Big Moose Lake to add to the Region 5 Waterfowl Count.


A wrap up of [the] Region 7 Waterfowl Count next week, but that’s another story. See ya.


Photo at top: Banded Carolina Wren. 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."

6 Responses

  1. James Fox says:

    What is “bud in the treetops like grouse?

    • Boreas says:

      In late winter, grouse often move into treetops to eat newly emerging buds – a good source of energy. This is called “budding”.

  2. amy godine says:

    What do you do with a Carolina Wren?

    • Boreas says:

      Just record the existing band, if any, and take measurement data on size, health, body fat, and location. If not banded, apply a band and enter into federal database.

  3. Richard Daly says:

    Gary, Inquirin minds wanna know: In your bulb ‘ask’ did you specify dimmable/non-dimmable? LED or neon? AND how many lumens? It’s a new world out there! 😉

  4. enjoyed your story–thanks

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