Early season rains may have affected survival of young birds

The rain showers continue to come through. Some parts of the state are getting some severe weather with damaging winds and lightning. This is sure keeping things green with gardens and flowers growing.

There is a big population of grasshoppers around that likes all this green stuff. I got one report of a Monarch this week from Stan Ernst. _MG_3706

A large butterfly flew by the boat the other day that, at first, I thought was a bat. It was a large Tiger Swallowtail and it landed in a nearby hemlock tree just before a small rain storm came through.

I rowed back and took a couple pictures as the bass were biting pretty fast and furious.

Speaking of biting fast, it was that way on Brother Bob’s Perfect Day Charters last Friday while catching laketrout on Lake Champlain.

We didn’t even get all four lines down before we had the first fish. That was the way it was until they gave us a lunch break.

We boated overtop twenty fish and lost many more just as they broke the surface behind the boat.

So we had the fun of the battle and didn’t have to net and release them.

I was fishing with Kerry Rogers and Ed Stafford with my sister-in-law Ruthann piloting the boat. She just followed the GPS lines on the screen where we had caught fish and the fish just kept biting.

We didn’t get any big ones. The largest was a little over five pounds but we got some nice fillets for the Barbie grill.

Most of the fish had lamprey eel marks on them. Some we boated still had eels  attached so the state hasn’t cured that problem in the lake yet.

We were out near Four Brothers Islands and when we first got out there the flock of Cormorants took off. There had to be over 500 in that flock.

Some of the young from this year just got in the water and swam away from the shoreline as they couldn’t fly yet.

I guess they didn’t oil all the eggs in the nests there.

There were several large Black Backed Gulls that followed us around waiting for a handout.

Or maybe they were waiting to make a snack of one of our released fish that did not make it, but that didn’t happen.

Well, if you read the column last week and were planning on going to Stillwater for hummer banding on October 1st that won’t be happening as it was September 1st.

Ted Hicks and I went up early Sunday morning and had the first bird about 8 a.m.

There were several people on the porch of the restaurant before we were done at 10 a.m. but we only caught 12 birds which were about all that were around.

Many of these birds have already flown south. We caught only one juvenile male hummer and the rest were adult females.

Ted and I think these little birds, as well as many other song birds, may have had a poor year raising their young with all the heavy rain storms we had this summer.

This time last year we caught more young ones that hadn’t gone south and very few adults.

It has also taken its toll on the larger birds such as turkeys and ruffed grouse as you only see two or three babies feeding with mom along the roadside.

The loons also lost many of their first nests to higher water levels and had to renest.

Some loons on smaller lakes don’t take that chance. They only have one nest as their young might not get out with an early freeze-up.

The pair at Bubb Lake got off two chicks in their first nest. They are only about seven weeks old and still in their brown down color.

I picked up a dead loon on Moss Lake this weekend that had fishing line wrapped around its tongue and lower bill.

The line had a non-lead sinker attached. I couldn’t find a hook so I couldn’t figure out how the bird got tangled other than it picked up the sinker thinking it was a pebble. These birds use small pebbles in their crop to break down the fish bones they are constantly eating.

Many of our birds have already left for their trip south—swallows, many warblers and other song birds. There is a big supply of wild food and the birds have plenty of food to build up their fat supply which will carry them on their journey. Judging from the stored fat of the hummers we caught, they were ready to take the trip south.

This week I had several warblers going through the yard. I heard a bird that wasn’t making the true call and I had to check it out. It sounded more like a scarlet tanager, and sure enough it was a juvenile traveling with its mom.

Many of these warblers have to be found in the confusing fall warbler part of your bird book as they don’t look like the adults they will be next year. The first year of most birds lives is the most dangerous as they make their first trip south.

The Old Forge Garden Club will hold a plant sale at the Old Forge Farmers Market on Friday, September 13, but that’s another story. See ya.

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