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Hudson River Almanac November 25 - December 1, 2003

OVERVIEW

The Hudson Valley is getting ready for an interesting, albeit frigid, season. The High Peaks of the Adirondacks and the Catskills are cloaked in white. Every day, more winter songbirds, waterfowl, and bald eagles arrive on tidewater. Anglers on the lower river are hoping for a mild winter so they can fish right on through for tomcod, red hake, and striped bass.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK

11/25 - Alpine, NJ, HRM 18: The tide came high at the Alpine Boat Basin, signaling the end of our fishing day. In fact, it was up over the seawall, across the parking lot, and onto the park service road. Wearing our knee-high boots, we gathered up our gear and collected the 35 tomcod we had caught on the incoming tide using sandworms and fresh cut shrimp.
- Robert Gabrielson Sr.

NATURAL HISTORY NOTES

11/25 - Newcomb, HRM 302: It was nice and warm yesterday, rather balmy. Then today I awoke to snow. We only had an inch or so, but it was enough to make everything wintery white!
- Ellen Rathbone

11/26 - Farmer's Landing, Town of Wappinger, HRM 67: Just before 11:00 AM, I stopped to watch an adult bald eagle perched in a black locust at the mouth of Wappinger Creek. Although I was less than fifty feet away, I stayed in my truck and it paid me little notice. I could hear another eagle calling upstream, and the bird I watched was craning its neck looking in that direction.
- Tom Lake

11/26 - Wappinger Creek, HRM 67.5: Around 11:00 AM I was driving along Wappinger Creek a short distance upstream from its confluence with the Hudson. Looking across I caught a glimpse of a white head against the subtle tones of brown on the wooded banks of the Audubon sanctuary west of the creek - an adult bald eagle perched high in a tree. As my field glasses moved down the tree to the creek I spotted another white head - a male hooded merganser paddling in small circles. The birds added two bright highlights to an otherwise drab November morning.
- Dick Lahey

11/26 - Bear Mountain, HRM 46: It had been several years, at least, since we had taken winter tomcod at Bear Mountain. In a couple of hours, using sandworms on the ebb tide from the old Dayliner dock, we caught six tomcod, as well as several small striped bass and white perch.
- Frankie Evans

11/26 - Croton Point, HRM 34: While I was running in the park this afternoon I saw a very healthy red fox near Sarah's Point on the south end. The fox ran off towards the river when it spotted me.
- Bill Kress

11/26 - Town of Athens, HRM 116: I was at the Cohotate Preserve Field Station getting things settled for the winter, enjoying the pre-twilight blue and pink sky. An adult bald eagle circled in low, just above the treetops of the icehouse site, banked, and landed in a tree. Not until it flew away did I realize there was a second adult eagle sitting in a nearby cottonwood. I watched with binoculars for 15 minutes as she looked around and listened from her perch. What a Thanksgiving gift!
- Liz LoGuidice

11/28 - Poughkeepsie, HRM 75: I pulled 24 more crab traps out today - another 70 to go. Heavy rain and fog settled in to keep me company. A few mallards near Blue Point looked like they were swimming through caramel syrup. The flood current was strong and, back at the boat ramp, the high tide was floating debris into the parking lot. Even though there was no bait and the trap lids were open, a total of ten or twelve sunfish and channel catfish, plus the odd crab, were alive in some of the pots. All were returned to the syrup. Water temperature was 44°F.
- John Mylod

11/30 - Ulster Park, HRM 87: We saw numerous flocks of robins this morning, heading south.
- Fran Drakert, Bill Drakert

11/30 - Town of Fishkill, HRM 63: It was a breezy, blustery afternoon. A dozen ring-billed gulls, having found shelter in the lee of a point of land, now took off in a hurry. Pandemonium! In their wake a merlin cruised past.
- Tom Lake

11/30 - Croton Point, HRM 34.5: I was hiking the south perimeter of the landfill past a flock of snow buntings and a few red-winged blackbirds. A series of loud screams coming from the riverbank were repeated after a minute or so. I maneuvered along the vine-hung fence and found what amounted to a peephole through brush and vines. Fifty yards away a young eagle was perched, doing the vocalizing. It was a "dirty bird," nearly an adult but with dingy coloring in the head and tail. Just below it an adult was busy tearing a small duck apart. I moved to get a clearer view and saw another adult perched close to the feeding bird. The vocalizing and feeding continued as I crept away without disturbing the eagles.
- Christopher Letts

11/30 - Croton River, HRM 34: There were birds, birds, birds, all over the marsh at the mouth of the Croton River this morning: mute swans, a great blue heron, black ducks, mallards, kingfisher, a pair of coot, buffleheads, 45 green-winged teal, 25 red-breasted mergansers, and a hen American wigeon The wigeon was a real treat and a new bird for me at that site. Out near the end of the point, I saw and heard several red-breasted nuthatches in a stand of pines.
- Christopher Letts

12/1 - Town of Halfmoon, HRM 159: Early this morning I saw what I thought was a very large crow flying overhead where the Northway crosses the Mohawk River at the Twin Bridges. However, the profile did not appear correct. The size was too large and the tail and wings had the wrong proportions. I did not see the head but the tail was clearly white. This adult bald eagle caught my eye because it was different than anything I had seen before while driving New York interstates.
- Terry Sturtevant

11/30 - Alpine to Englewood, NJ, HRM 18-13.5: We were unable to find measurable salinity in the seven mile reach from Alpine to the George Washington Bridge. Water samples from 6-8 feet deep along the shore were all less than 1.0 part per thousand. Ordinarily at this time of the year, the salinity here is nearly half that of seawater. The river was still warm, 45°-46°F.
- Christopher Letts, TL

The Hudson River has a way,
To make you want to stay all day.
When a boat comes through,
It washes waves to you.
The waves wash water chestnuts here and away,
And rocks all shapes and sizes to play.
The Hudson River has a way,
To make you want to stay and play,
All day.
- Kathryn Rose O'Malley (8 years old)

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