The Turks are flying in every direction and the “amaryllis lamps” –

The Turks are flying in every direction and the “amaryllis lamps” –

Last Sunday (Jan 14), temperatures started at a low of 17 (degrees) and dropped daily each morning to a low of -8 (degrees) here on Sunday (Jan 21). Snow fell almost every morning (the most was five inches on Thursday.) This gave skiers and snowmobilers something to play with (if they could handle the cold temperatures and winds.) There were a few accidents on the trails and highways. The most dramatic was a pickup truck that passed a pickup truck’s tractor trailer near Blue Mountain. Before returning to the track, she was struck by a state plow truck. The car split in half when it hit the plow truck’s plow. I heard the driver of the car got a black eye as a result of the accident… lucky man. This was all captured on camera from a DOT plow truck.

(Here’s) an interesting story that happened the week before Christmas. I’ve been trying to get some late blooming amaryllis for friends and neighbors. I went to Lowville to check out Walmart and Tractor Supply where I found the plants a year ago. There were two growing out of the box at Tractor Supply, so I passed them on. 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 weren’t any. They had a few hundred poinsettias, but no amaryllis. So, I set off on that journey (other than to get more birdseed.) I came home and called Walmart in Utica and they told me 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 taken to the lighting and lamps section. The phone rang more than twenty times and then went to a busy signal. Good. It was the week before Christmas, and I’m sure they answered the phone well enough. Fortunately, I had a doctor’s appointment in Utica that week so I was checking in there and seeing if anyone had some plants. I went to Lowe’s and in the factory department (or near it) there was an employee who said, “I don’t work in this department, but there were some employees here in the hallway yesterday.”


Karen Amaryllis. Photography by Gary Lee.

Well, I was getting closer when I looked down in the back corner and there were about forty amaryllis plants and some paper white in pretty pots. I filled up the cart where I had a list of how many products I needed to fill my order. A lady came and asked if I would leave any of them, so I did, ten (of them). When I went to the checkout desk there was a guy who was looking for an overdue gift and he said, “These (are) exactly right. Where did you get them?” I told him, but I said: You better hurry, as there were only ten left. I’ve seen many of your photos that are just starting to blossom, including Karen’s.

All thirty-three turkeys were here this week, and they ate all the corn I gave them. Some of them were in the apple trees eating the fruit (and) others were on the ground, picking up the fallen fruit. I went out to give them more corn, but some of them panicked and the turkeys were flying in the air in every direction. Some fell into nearby trees, others just left the country. When they break up like this, it takes a few days for them to get back together again. They have been coming in nine or ten at a time, but not the whole group until today, January 22nd. This afternoon, there were over thirty herds feeding under the feeders, so there are a couple of stragglers who haven’t found the herd yet. I hope they survived the cold nights without any food. They sprout from the treetops just like grouse, but that uses a lot of energy the way the wind blows.

The temperature rose into the 20s today, so I set up potter traps to catch some of the ever-growing flock of blue jays. I had thirteen today and caught three of them. My little Carolina Wren (both) would sneak out early and late to get suet cakes and catch a snack when the big birds weren’t around. He was near Potter’s traps feeding and decided there was something he wanted, and I caught him. This is the first Carolina Wren I have caught since October 2014 when one was moving through the area and I caught it in my net.

Some Purple Finch has moved in from somewhere where I haven’t had anything for weeks. Today (however,) I had twelve people on the platform at the same time, so there were probably more in the trees. I heard them calling yesterday, but couldn’t locate them high in the trees. I caught three Hooded Mergansers in the Moose River below the TOBIE Trail Bridge. (Also,) Diane Bowes caught six mallards at her Big Moose Lake outlet to add to her District 5 waterfowl count.

Waterfowl census summary for District 7 next week, but that’s another story. I’ll see you later.

Photo above: Carolina Reign Band. Photography by Gary Lee.

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