Saturday, April 13, 2024

Birds go quiet, crocuses close during eclipse totality

Eclipse totality

I’m starting this column before the eclipse event this afternoon, April 8, as the skies are partly cloudy here and I hope it is clearer this afternoon. I’m going to try and take a few shots when it is total. My fifteen bird feeders are highly active, so I will see what happens when the darkness comes. I’ll also see how the birds react when the sun comes back out in a few minutes. We’ll see if they take a quick nap like it was nighttime or if they get back to feeding when the sun comes back out like they do at daylight in the morning.

Karen went into town to get the mail and she said it was almost like the Fourth of July. Tom Payne of Payne’s Air Service has been flying almost all day as many of our new visitors have never had a seaplane ride over the Adirondacks. I heard a helicopter flying over earlier this morning going somewhere to the north of us.

I saw that the weather around the world is going crazy while I was checking on the eclipse news. Last Wednesday, April 3, a 7.2 earthquake occurred in Taiwan. There were thirteen dead, several missing, 1,145 injured, and six hundred people stranded days after the quake. It caused many buildings to lean at precarious angles, and they had to be torn down. Rain caused rockfalls and landslides, which are the biggest challenges to rescue efforts. Giant waves from Storm Kathleen hit the Isle of Man in the UK, washing over roadways along the coast. Straight line wind speeds of 80 to 100 mph hit the coast of New Zealand, taking roofs off buildings and taking down trees. Wind speeds in the western United States, some up to 60-80 mph and 100 mph in the foothills is possible as a storm system comes across the country.

Here last week, the high winds blew all night and put the power out for nearly twenty-four hours. There were tree-cutting crew trucks everywhere along with National Grid putting power lines back up and restoring service to homes and businesses. The very next day, there was an accident in Otter Lake. A bus took out a pole a little after 1 pm, which put the power out for nearly twelve hours. No back up battery power system and only one line feeds the whole North Country to Raquette Lake. Better put these lines underground. The line to my house is 950 feet and it has been in the ground for 25 years with no problems. If it had been on poles, it would have been down several times during that time. Trees seem to fall when they get old and the wind blows. Lately, the wind has blown during every rainstorm or snowstorm.

strutting turkeys

Strutting turkeys. Photo by Gary Lee.

The birds have been cleaning out the bird feeders daily, as the snow during the week moved several birds that were foraging on their own back to the food source. Some mornings there were well over one hundred birds around the feeders. Then the Turkey flock comes
through, and the small birds move up to the treetops and wait until the turkeys get their fill and move on before they come back down. The Turkeys (at least the males) seem more interested in strutting than eating. Sometimes there are eight to ten fluffed up at the same time. I would like them to come through during the eclipse to see if they would fly up into the trees to roost for the night.

Well, it didn’t get as dark as I thought it would during eclipse totality. The birds did stop singing. A Robin in the yard sang right up until it was total, and then started singing again as the sun reappeared. The little birds that had been all over the feeders went silent when the sun was completely covered. Some of my crocuses that were in bloom did close for the nighttime, as I took before and after pictures. I did take several photos when the sun was totally covered by the moon and just reappearing. It was a super happening…and the world didn’t fall apart in the process.

I got reports from some of the family out Rochester way and they were in the clouds. That must be the stuff that moved in here just as the sun was coming back into view. The Turkeys must be breeding in private today, as I haven’t seen them all day. With all the breeding I have seen in the driveway, there are going to be baby Turkeys running after mom all over Eight Acre Wood in a month or so.

Some Loons are back, better get those floating platforms in, but that’s another story. See ya.

Photo at top: Eclipse totality. 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."

5 Responses

  1. Boreas says:

    I was in Rouses Point at a friend’s house. Main thing I noticed at totality were skeeters coming out of nowhere!!

    I botched most of my pix at totality – the hazy sky didn’t help. I didn’t get a great image of the flare at 7:00 on the corona though it was clearly visible with the naked eye.

    Nice shot!

  2. Randy says:

    It was interesting – at our house my wife and I noticed the birds all started chirping during totality and then shut down again as sun popped back out. Note- we have stopped feeding the birds for summer.

  3. JohnL says:

    Even in Central New York, the bees that were buzzing like crazy in my maple trees b4 the eclipse started. suddenly went silent when it got dark. And, they never came back when it got light again either. Sky was pretty clear until about 75% covered and then the hazy clouds came in and ruined things visually.

  4. David Gibson says:

    It sure was a super happening, Thank you, Gary, as usual, for reports from Eight Acre Wood, Pls keep up the good work.

  5. ChuckM says:

    Thanks for sharing what you do, Mr. Lee.
    And a friendly reminder regarding the Earth seeming to be going crazy, from someone who’s been on the internet a long, long (nearly 4 decades) time: the internet’s made this a very small world, information-wise. We have access to amounts of information that grows exponentially each year. Information about natural disasters, wars and skirmishes, etc. that haven’t really increased in frequency, but have in info availability and our awareness.
    That’s stressful, and will require us to increasing rely on our critical thinking skills to sort it out and keep it in context.

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