Snowy Owl on Beach

I went to this location after it stopped raining for a short trip. I was lucky. I saw this owl flying over a wetlands being chased by seagulls on my way in. I parked in the parking lot and only walked a very short distance and the same owl it appears flew over my head being chased by gulls. It landed on the beach. There were kite surfers there and it appeared to frighten the owl a few times into short flights. The gulls kept watch on it throughout my time there, flying close to it.

Looking at either a seagull or one of the kite surfers whose kites were behind me.
At the end of a jetty

The conditions were very windy. It made it hard to stay still. It was hard to get sharp in focus images. All of these were taken with a 150-600 mm zoom and are heavily cropped. Get out and enjoy nature! There is so much around you if you stop to notice.

Snowy Owl Return

Many birds leave the northeastern part of the United States and Canada this time of year and head to warmer locals where finding food is easier. Loons migrate to the Long Island Sound and points south. Most Great Blue Herons and Ospreys have headed south. Can you name a bird that treats New York and New England as their Florida in the winter? One bird is the snowy owl.

This snowy owl is sitting on some kind of plastic debris. It was huge.
Behaviour Around Snowy Owls

Some snowy owls from the Arctic in Canada arrived early this year. Some were seen as early as October. If you hear of them on one beach hanging out multiple days and you don’t see them head to a neighbouring beach. Don’t bring a dog. I have seen them fly off at the sight of one. Keep your voice down. Unfortunately I witnessed a man last year yelling near an owl twice and he caused it to fly off both times. Don’t go too close. Move slowly within eyesight of it and don’t make sudden moves.

Although I was able to catch this one with its eyes open several times. Its eyes were closed a lot.
Snowy Owl Habits

These birds spend most of their time sleeping during the day. They tend to fly and start hunting right before sunset. Usually they are here from around December through March.

Stretching the legs.
Always keep at least one eye open!
f

This owl was perched on a huge plastic container of some sort. I don’t know if it is something boats use or if it is industrial debris. Kind of sad, but it is one more sign of how prevalent plastic debris is.

I enjoy seeing the many faces of the snowy owl. Get out and enjoy nature. Follow the rule of trips in wild areas: carry in, carry out.

Lake Colby

Want another lake to paddle just outside the village of Saranac Lake in the Adirondack Mountains of New York? Lake Colby may fit the bill. Lake Colby is on Route 86 just north of the village of Saranac Lake and across the street from the Adirondack Medical Center. It has a swimming beach with a large parking lot at the south end of route 86 and a boat ramp with parking on the north end of Route 86.

You can see the restrictions on this sign on Route 86 north of Saranac Lake. Boats with motors no more than 10 HP are allowed on the lake. I actually took this picture on my way out.

This was the second lake I hit in the same day on a short weekend trip in October. The weather did not cooperate most of the time. It was mostly overcast and dark during this day with short periods with brief views of blue skies.

Boat ramp into Lake Colby
Dockside for one house.
Adirondack chairs next to a fire pit lake side. My vision of heaven. In my dreams I wish to have something like this one day.
Wildlife

Although it has been said there are loons and eagles here I did not see any. Eagles seem to travel between bodies of water in the Adirondacks. I did see multiple great blue herons and Canadian Geese.

Canadian geese on the lake
This lake had a multitude of heron when I visited.
A lake side structure that looked to be in the midst of a remodel.

It seemed like there were only a few houses or camps along this lake. I saw no camping signs, however, other websites say there are two on the lake. These campsites are usually first come first served.

This is another lake I highly recommend. It had nice scenery, it is close to the village of Saranac Lake, and has wildlife to see. Viewing wildlife is always a plus for me. I did not take pictures on the opposite side. It had an old railroad tracks that people were fishing from.

Little Clear Pond

You can not always pick your weather. Sometimes I really wish I could. I went up to the Adirondack Mountains on a three day weekend in October. The day I went to this pond it was dreary in the morning. I will kayak even if it is raining.

How to Access

Little Clear Pond can be accessed off State Route 30 on the Adirondack Fishery Road. The sign above is on the Adirondack Fish Hatchery Road.

The road leading to it is dirt/ gravel. It breaks off at one point. If I remember correctly it also crosses a road that is used for a snowmobile route. It was very muddy there with the rain.

Little Clear was the only one marked on the map with a boat ramp. It appears it is a canoe carry to Little Green Pond. I may have to check that out in the future, but canoe carries I found usually mean a dock. As a kayaker I prefer a boat ramp. I could be wrong though.

Boat launch- It is a gentle slope down to the pond from the parking lot.

It is near the fishery. The fishery uses this pond so fishing is not allowed.

A lot of stumps in this pond.
Wildlife

‘This appeared to be a young loon. It was hanging around waiting for its mother to feed it. The parent appeared to be handing fish off to it underwater. Not too long before they fly south. I hope this young loon has learned to fish on its own so it can follow its parent south. I also saw Merganser ducks here, but they kept quite a distance.

This guy caught up with me on another section of the pond. The motehr was probably around somewhere, but I did not see her at this point.
Scenery
That could possibly be the St. Regis Mountain Fire Tower in the background.
Dos and Don’ts

There are several things not allowed because the Adirondack Fish Hatchery uses this pond. Fishing is not allowed. According to an article written by Spencer Morrissey in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise this pond is used as a breeding ground for landlocked salmon. So loons and eagles are known to be seen here. Camping is not allowed along this pond either for the same reason and motor boats are banned. Canoes and kayaks are welcome.

One of the many stumps with fall foliage in the background.

I highly recommend this pond. They do have a larger parking area than most ponds. I saw one other boat that morning and another came before I left. So it is a quiet place, nice to take a small group. Seeing loons is a bonus as well as having a chance of seeing eagles.

Even in less than ideal conditions go out and enjoy nature. Stay safe and stay healthy!

Fall in Lake Placid

They say the colours were not brilliant this year. I had a three day weekend and decided to visit the Adirondacks regardless and get some hiking and kayaking in. I was there for a day and a half. The following pictures I took whilst kayaking Mirror Lake in Lake Placid on the morning I left to return home.

Adirondack chairs on a dock.
Early morning paddle on a canoe.
I really did not know this heron was there until I was right next to it. I was looking at pictures in the back of my camera and drifting towards a house under renovations with a lot of noise. This guy never moved. Taken with a 24- 120 lens.
Adirondack boathouse on Mirror Lake.

Get out and enjoy the outdoors even if they say the conditions will not be optimal. You will appreciate it anyways.

Clamming Near Assateague

Another activity you can do while visiting Assateague is to go clamming. You have a lot more available to you if you search for a spot via kayak. That is exactly what we did.

I followed this group to search for clams. We went to a boat ramp area to launch from. It is ten dollars per car to put in your boats at Assateague Island State Boat Ramp. It is actually on the mainland before you cross over the Bridge to Assateague Island. This is one spot to put your kayaks in the water. There is ample parking in the lot. We went before sunset.

A location. with a sandy sea floor seemed best. Some felt around with their feet. Others swam under the water to feel with their hands. Adults mainly used rakes or clamming baskets.

I feel something down in the sand.
The clam retriever goes all in.
Success!
One of the adults who used a rake or clamming basket.
Clamming basket
They had buckets and nets to collect the clams in.
He had a bagful.
No tools required!
Packing up and ready for the return trip.
Nice view of the Verrazano Bridge. Not the one in NYC. This one is in Maryland.

I think the final total for this clamming trip was 130 clams or so. They soaked them in salt water then fresh from what I understand. Then they had a feast a few days later. Get out and enjoy nature and work for your food. It makes you enjoy it all the more.

Assateague Horses

Where can you go to see wild horses and enjoy a beach at the same time? One place is Assateague Island in Maryland. The following pictures were taken early morning at Assateague State Park. This park is next to the Assateague Island National Seashore where there are also wild horses.

Being friendly or true love?
Watching over the new one
The friendly one

Two out of the three mornings I was there I saw horses at sunrise on the beach. They will wander through the campgrounds at the state park and national park. They say to keep a distance away from them as they are wild and can charge. I tried to keep a distance, but the one above kept getting close to me. He was good at posing for pictures.

Go some place different and experience something you have not experienced previously. It will enrich your life.

Ghost Crabbing

What is a ghost crab? A ghost crab is a sand coloured crab that comes out at night. The Atlantic ghost crab lives on beaches that are not crowded along most of the Atlantic coast. A fun activity while visiting Assateague Island is Ghost crabbing.

I followed this group on Assateague Island at the State Park. The beaches at the state park for campers are great places to find the Ghost Crab as they are not crowded during the day. If you are in Assateague head to the beach at night and see if you can catch these quick crustaceans.

When to Find Them

Since ghost crabs burrow in the sand during the day and emerge at night, the best time to try to catch them is after it gets dark. They say the younger ones burrow closer to the ocean while the older ones burrow farther away.

What To Bring

Bring a net as these crabs can scurry quickly. Also bring a flashlight, but a headlamp as this girl is wearing makes it easier to catch them because you then have two hands free.

How to Catch Them

When you shine a flashlight on the ghost crab if freezes momentarily. Then it scurries away. The best time to try to catch them is when they freeze.

Catch and Release

When you are finished, release the crabs. I understand people do not eat these. No ghost crabs were harmed in this activity.

The next morning I saw many remains of ghost crabs next to the water. There are birds that like to catch them and eat them when the sun starts to rise.

Get out and enjoy nature! Expand your knowledge and have fun while you do.

Kayaking in Saratoga

This trip was killing two birds with one stone. I needed to go to this location to get a part for a roof rack. It has been hard to get every part I needed since the start of COVID. I have been hearing there is a worldwide metal shortage and of course many companies do not have all their workers back so production is slow. I went to Mountainman’s Saratoga kayaking location to get the last part and have it installed. I wanted to find a place in the area to kayak after I made that long trek and low and behold there was a kayak launch on the same grounds as Mountainman.

Location

This kayak launch is owned by Kayak Shak. My understanding is they own the property the other neighbouring businesses on the water are on. The address is 251 County Route 67 (or Stafford Bridge Road) Saratoga Springs, NY. You can get there without going the town of Saratoga. The way my GPS sent me was through a rural area. The cost for someone with their own kayak was $10. If you are renting a single kayak or paddle board (SUP) the coast is $25 dollars for three hours. They have another deal for renting for a longer period of time. They do not allow dogs, so leave them at home. This business advertises they have paddle board (SUP) yoga on Saturday mornings.

It is two miles I was told to Saratoga Lake from this boat launch. I believe they said you could paddle up the creek in the opposite direction 5 miles. I decided to go to Saratoga Lake.

On Saratoga Lake despite houses along it the water seems to be very clean. You can see a good distance to the bottom.

I did not take many pictures on my trip out to the lake. The sky got dark and my goal was to get to the next bridge, close to the lake before the storm came through. I made it under the bridge justo in time and hung out there until it was over with some fishermen.

Heading back towards where I started- about 2 miles away.
dHeading back from the lake into Fish Creek. That is the bridge I hid under on my trip out.
A tour boat that must have originated on Saratoga Lake. It came up Fish Creek a little ways then turned back.

There are some marinas in different spots. One marina has a campground with RVs/campers viewable from the water.

Wildlife

Since a lot of the land on one side is marshy and not developed you can observe gulls, geese and Great Blue Herons along the way. As always do not get too close. I have a long lens and crop the photos quite a bit.

There were several Great Blue Herons in the area.
Seagull observing the heron’s fishing technique.
Wearing an ankle bracelet? Was this Canadian Goose being monitored for offences? During COVID he is here illegally. The border is still closed.
Almost back.
Those who rent their boat get to take off from this beach.
If you bring your own you have to paddle to the end of the boats and go around them. Basically you are going under the bridge.
Heading back behind the boats.
Where those who own their boat can take their kayak out of the water.
I have seen Adirondack chairs painted many different solid colours. I like this multi-coloured one. It goes well with the kayak and SUP colours.
Where those who own their own boat pay $10 to launch or those who want to rent go to get their gear for a few hours.
You may need to reserve in advance. They do get a lot of people renting kayaks at this location.
Harvest and Hearth Wood Fired Artisan Pizza.
Gluten free pizza made with cauliflower crust from Harvest and Hearth Wood Fired Artisan Pizza.

After my trip it was dinner time. I decided to look at the menu of the pizza place on the same grounds as the boat launch, Harvest and Hearth Wood Fired Artisian Pizza, and they indeed had gluten free options. Any pizza on their menu can be ordered with a gluten-free (cauliflower) crust. I ordered the Epiphany. This pizza had kalamata olives, fire roasted peppers, red onions, organic rosemary, mozzarella and goat cheese. If you are lactose intolerant you may need to ask if it can be made with just the goat cheese. It was very delicious! Their hours are Tuesday- Saturday 4:30-9. To learn more about this pizza place go to the link for it down at the bottom.

During the week in the afternoon there were not many boats or jets skis out until you got close to the lake. Most of my trip I saw fellow kayakers and those on paddleboards.

I like this location for several reasons. Firstly, what is available on the grounds is convenient. You have a shop that sells paddling supplies, a pizza place, the boat launch, restrooms, and a park. If you have friends who want to go but don’t have their own kayak, they can rent. Also you can go two directions. So it makes for two different trip choices. In addition, the chance to view wildlife is always a plus to me. During the week it is fairly quiet with few motorboats. The short of it is I would return to this location.

Get out and experience nature. Get some exercise along the way. It will help you maintain your health.

Mountainman Outdoor Supply is the largest dealer in paddlesports in New York State from what I understand. https://www.mountainmanoutdoors.com/store-locations.html

To learn more about the wood fired pizza: https://www.harvestandhearth.com

To reserve a kayak or SUP at Kayak Shak: https://www.kayakshak.com/?utm_source=Saratoga.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=microsite&utm_campaign=Saratoga.com