Spring In Washington County, New York

Geese flying up the Hudson RiverToday is the first day of spring here in beautiful Washington County, New York. I knew spring was on its way because the geese have been flying north over my house all week. I first noticed them on Sunday, March 8th and I grabbed my camera to take a few pictures. I live next to the Hudson River and it is a main migration path for the geese. I can see the Route 29 bridge over the Hudson and some of the river flowing under it, from where I am writing this.

There is a 15 acre field behind my house where the geese sometimes land. The field still has the remains of the corn stalks that were cut last fall. Some of the geese formations have been rather poor and lopsided this year. I don’t know why I judge them, but I do. How hard could it be to form a flying V? I don’t like it when one leg of the V is much longer than the other or it contains obvious gaps. Don’t they realize they are putting on a show for those of us on the ground? I wonder what they think of us as they look down from 200 feet in the air? I always enjoy watching and listening to the geese honking as they make their way north.

I also saw my first Robin of the spring this morning near my bird feeder. I only saw the one. I didn’t see any of his companions. I have a homemade bird feeder in my yard. It consists of two saw horses that a friend of mind donated to me when he moved to North Carolina and two boards that I had laying around. My cat likes to sit in the window and watch all the activity. He makes chirping noises while banging his tail against the wall. We (my cat and I) have had up to five squirrels around the feeder at one time.

My cat doesn’t go outside. I don’t want him killing the birds. I don’t want him being eaten by a coyote or a fox that strolls through my yard once in a while either. I don’t want him getting hit by a car or bus. He has already run into a car. That is how we got him. My wife was driving home from work and he ran across the road without looking. He was stunned by the accident, but not hurt too seriously. We took him to the vet and she fixed him up. We brought him home and he is now an inside cat. We named him Bumper.

There is still some snow on the ground around here. A lot of it has melted over the past two weeks. The temperature should be in the 50’s this weekend and that will probably melt the snow that remains.

Skunk CabbageI saw my first skunk cabbage of the year this week too. I was walking through an old pond on my property when I saw it. It has probably been there for a few weeks. They usually come out sometime in February. I usually end up with at least a dozen or so in the pond and alongside the stream that runs near it.

When the stream leaves my property, it flows through a culvert under the road. It comes out on the other side and meanders through some woods that are owned by the New York State Canal Corporation. If I walk through those woods at this time of year, I will see a dozen skunk cabbages poking through the ground. I can also be standing on the bank of the Hudson River in about a minute.

There is no boat traffic this time of year. The locks on the Champlain Canal don’t open until sometime in May. Shortly before the locks open, a big barge and a handful of men, set up all of the buoys and markers along the river. That is always a welcome sight here along the river and, even though I don’t have a boat, I look forward to seeing the buoys being put back in the river.

I live just south of Lock 5. I had never seen a real operating lock until I moved here four winters ago. The Hudson River in this area is very beautiful and amazing. If you get a chance, stop by and see Lock 5. You can also take a tour of the river on either of two boats operated by Champlain Canal Tour Boats. If you do, tell Captain Bob and Marie I said hello.

5 Responses to “Spring In Washington County, New York”

  1. Lawrence White says:

    I can tell Spring is here by all of the cat activity in my neighborhood. They are going outside after the long winter indoors and socializing which means more howling etc. When you combine that with the ‘caw’ of the crows and the ‘honk’ of the geese it can sound like a wild Spring orchestra of madness at times.

  2. John Tedder says:

    I haven’t heard any cats howling here. The piles of snow are shrinking though. I bet the snow will be completely gone by the end of this week. My pine trees lost a lot of limbs this winter. I have a lot of cleaning up to do this spring.

  3. Carole says:

    That was a really interesting post, I had never heard of the Champlain Canal before.

  4. John Tedder says:

    The Champlain Canal has 12 locks between Waterford, NY at the southern end and Lake Champlain at the northern end. The original canal is no longer in use. The Erie Canal meets the Champlain Canal at Waterford which is just north of Albany. The Erie Canal and Champlain Canal meet where the Hudson and Mohawk rivers meet. The Champlain Canal uses locks on the Hudson to raise and lower boats so they can travel along the river. It’s fun to watch.

  5. dottyrob says:

    What those geese are saying is “Those humans don’t arrange their towns in any sensible formation – what’s wrong with them?”

    And you’re right, the locks are impressive – the lockmeister can show you the beautiful original brass fittings on the controls. A wonderful trail, complete with eagle sitings, borders the canal in the village – too bad we never got that bike trail along the whole length of the canal like the one along the Erie Canal.

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