Signs of approaching fall springing up all around us

Loon Release at Rat Pond

Loon Release at Rat Pond

A geo locator attached to the band

A geo locator attached to the band

If you have been out and about you have certainly seen the changing red maple leaves along the shorelines of most lakes. I had my first flock of fall warblers hanging around the feeder birds and among the spruces out back.

I didn’t have a chance to put up the net that morning, so I missed those birds.

Last year I caught several warblers on their way south.

Then just yesterday I saw a white-rumped sandpiper on the shore of the pond when I was feeding the fish.

I don’t know if its the same bird that was here about the same time last year or not.

Last year the pond was down about a foot because it was so dry so this bird had some shoreline to walk on and feed in. This year the pond is still going out the overflow.

The temperatures sure have been fall-like, and not just in the mornings. Most days it hasn’t gotten much above 72.

I’ve seen most of the loons we banded locally, and also some that I hadn’t seen all summer. Just yesterday I saw bands on a loon at Woodhull Lake that I haven’t seen in a couple years.

I just hope those geo locaters are doing their jobs and we get lots of information from them when they are recovered in a year or two.

During the second three-day period of banding loons we were based in the Saranac Lake area.

The first night we traveled to ESF in Newcomb and tried to catch loons on Wolf Pond.

The birds hollered at us as we were getting stuff down to the lake. Then they were quiet the rest of the night, except for a couple splash dives when we happened to catch them in our lights.

We caught a big chick right away but that was all for that body of water. We got hit with a thunderstorm as we were just getting off the pond.

After sleeping through a couple storms that dropped over an inch of rain we traveled to Woodruff Lake.

The loons there had been caught a couple of times before and were also quiet for the better part of the night.

We also caught a chick for sampling but never got a shot at the adults. They didn’t fall for any of the calls in my call box.

The second night we went to Boy Scout Clear Pond up near Mecham Lake.

These birds were fired up and both adults tried to lead us away from their chicks. They bumped both canoes a couple of times but avoided capture. We did capture both of the big chicks that were big enough to band.

The other lake we visited that night was Massawepie Lake above Tupper Lake. The wind had picked up and we thought the birds were over a mile down the lake.

Luckily when we put in the canoe we found that the birds were not far away. We picked up the banded adult female right away and then a chick.

The adult male got with the other chick and he came right to the canoe. I zipped him up in the net so we got a good sampling there.

The sun hadn’t come up yet but we didn’t have time to hit another pond.

The last night we went to Rat Pond by Saranac Inn as there was a banded female there that hadn’t been sampled since 2004. The pond isn’t that big so we only used one canoe. The loons there just about jumped into the canoe. It was hard to get the adults apart from the chicks as they swam in front of the canoe.

However, I was patient and got three—the banded female, the unbanded male and one chick.

The last body of water we did was Piercefield Reservoir, north of Tupper Lake.

One of the loons there was sampled two years ago and was hard to catch at the time. Well, this time was no different.

Fog set in and these birds were on silent running for over two hours. They talked to us just before dawn but never gave us a look at them or their chicks as they dodged around us in the fog.

Our total was seventeen birds in six nights from thirteen bodies of water with two recaptures.

I also caught a female on Sixth Lake one of those days. It was not the same female we previously found that had a fishing lure in her tongue and was released unbanded.

The water is cooling off and the brooktrout are on the feed, but that’s another story. See ya.

Share Button