Gary Lee’s Daybreak to Twilight

You know it’s cold when you can see a bird’s breath

Zippy's Crusade at the Ole Barn in Inlet

Zippy’s Crusade at the Ole Barn in Inlet

It’s been a tad on the cold side this week with temperatures never getting above ten degrees. A couple days it did not get past zero. 


To add to the problem, my furnace decided not to work. Raquette Lake Supply was quick to fix the problem and it’s still pushing heat.

My passive solar heat sink that sits below the cellar floor helped out that day but it taxed the system. It took a while to heat back up at ten below.

bohemiansOur cat Inky laid on the bed soaking up the sun for a few hours.

You know it’s cold when you can see a bird’s breath when it stops to get seed at the feeder.

Birds huddle down on their feet as they pick apart a seed to keep in their body heat.

They fluff up their feathers, making them look fat, to give themselves more insulation from the cold.

When they sleep, some birds burrow in the snow and use it as a source of insulation.

The Redpolls sit on top of the snow and flap their wings until they bury themselves deep so just their heads stick out.

Ruffed Grouse actually fly into soft snow or tunnel completely under the snow for insulation from the cold.

Many times while out snowshoeing I have seen one come out from under the soft snow in a blur of brown.

If you inspect the hole it came out of you will see that it spent the night there, as evidenced by the droppings left behind.

Many cavity nesters like Chickadees, Nuthatches and Bluebirds pool their resources by getting on top of each other in a hole to keep warm.

Some watchers have found eight or ten sharing their body heat in one cavity. 

You had to be a devoted pond hockey fan to watch the live action at the Adirondack Ice Bowl last Friday and Saturday on Fourth Lake, in front of the Woods Inn.

The temperature never got above ten. With the wind chill factor it had to be ten below or colder most of the time.

You can’t drink enough beer to keep warm in those temperatures.

It wasn’t much warmer for those participating in Zippy’s Crusade for Kids snowmobile charity event, except for those who had sleds with heated seats and handgrips.

There were over 300 sleds at the area around the Ole Barn before the ride started last Saturday.

There was a rescue of an injured female snowmobiler in the Plains on Saturday afternoon. She was air-lifted from the Ole Barn parking lot.

We can see vehicles through the hardwoods as they travel up the hill past our home in the winter.

We saw snowmobile tail lights going up the Limekiln Road all hours of the night on Friday and Saturday.

People who reside near the lake said they could hear the lake “talking” all day and night as it expanded as it made ice during the cold temperatures.

When the tv or furnace wasn’t running I could hear the trees popping outside.

When water in tree cracks expands it sometimes sounds just like a gunshot.

Much of the open water where we found ducks last weekend is now frozen solid. The main lake is still open but most of the bays and the south end of the lake has become ice covered.

Willsboro Bay, which had some of the best ducks of the day, is completely frozen. My brother Bob has been ice fishing for perch there for two days.

He said the black ice is four inches thick and as clear as glass.

While jigging there yesterday (1/26) he said a large salmon swam right under the ice near his hole.

He pulled up his jig from the bottom and the salmon turned and came toward it as Bob pulled it up toward the hole.

The salmon saw Bob’s movements through the clear ice and made a swirl right at the hole, pushing water right up on the ice.

Total ducks from the count last Saturday (1/19) were: Canada Goose – 190, Black Duck – 359, Mallard Duck – 1789, BlackxMallard – 1, Gadwall – 32, Common Merganser – 627.

Hooded Merganser – 44, Greater Scaup – 1, Lesser Scaup – 1,155, Ring-necked Duck – 176, Bufflehead – 226, Northern Pintail – 1, Long-tailed Duck – 20.

Common Goldeneye – 8,442, Barrow’s Goldeneye – 6, Horned Grebe – 22, Pied-billed Grebe – 1 and Common Loon – 1.

The total was 13,093 birds. These ducks were seen along the eastern shore of Lake Champlain by ten observers.

Other highlights of birds seen were 250 Bohemian Waxwings at Barber Point, 33 Black-backed Gulls, 21 Bald Eagles—all at the south end of the lake with one seen wearing a transmitter, and 2 Belted Kingfishers.

A second January thaw is forecast for this week. We’ll see, but that’s another story. See ya.

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