Friday, February 12, 2010

Wild Turkeys + Snowed In (or is that out?) Roads

[Five of the fourteen Wild Turkeys foraging in a field south of Dividing Creek along Cumberland County Route 553 today. Note the sparrows digging in the foreground, finding bare ground where the turkeys scratched. Note also the turkeys' beards and dark irridescent plumage - they are males, or "toms" in farmer or hunter lingo. In deep snow turkeys depend on fields windswept of snow, seeps and wetlands to find accessible food. Click to enlarge.]

Megan Crewe and I took a couple hours today to figure out what our options were for this weekend's workshop. Jake's Landing Road has not been plowed and is probably impassable to anything but a 4WD with high clearance, and iffy even at that. Same for Beaver Swamp Road once it turns to sand. Thus Jake's and its Short-eared Owls and Beaver Swamp with its eagle nest are currently inaccessible. I've forgotten to mention that two days ago I had a Short-eared Owl up on a post in the salt marsh at high tide along Route 47 south of Goshen, likely one of the birds that frequents Jake's Landing since it is all one vast complex.

Happily, Turkey Point and Newport Landing are well plowed out, and both have nesting Bald Eagles. A Red-shouldered Hawk and a harrier with an incredibly full crop were at Newport Landing around lunchtime today. Karen Johnson and Janet Crawford had a distant perched eagle from Beaver Dam, along Route 553 north of Dividing Creek, that may have been the wintering Golden Eagle. Megan and I watched a male harrier precisely and effortlessly drop to the edge of a muskrat mound and come up with a meadow vole at Bivalve, seen from the Strawberry Lane boardwalk, which is a walk-in or 4WD only proposition at the moment.

Thompson's Beach and Heislerville are reachable and worth it, with harriers, eagles, redtails, and a couple Sharp-shinned Hawks. Five Bald Eagles of varying ages were feeding out at the end of Turkey Point Road.

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