Monday, August 24, 2015

Turkeys on parade

Summer has reached the later part of its season here on Roundtop.  The woodland birds have fledged and are out on their own—often with clownish feather-do’s in some weird combination of baby feathers and adult plumage.  Saturday night saw a decent early-season migration.  On Sunday morning I saw a flock of robins, about half of them this year’s young birds.  I also found a few warblers, which is never more than I see here.  Roundtop isn’t a warbler hotspot, by any means.

On Friday evening I found, again, the family of wild turkey I occasionally see.  They were stalking the edge of a cornfield, the young poults already grown since the last time I saw them, which wasn’t very long ago.  There were more of them than I could fit in the frame--another hen and several more poults.
 can see a change in the undergrowth of the forest—there’s less of it.  The first of spring annual plants often die back after they flower.  For me, this amounts to being able to see deeper into the forest again, instead of finding a thick curtain of greenery obscuring anything more than 10 feet away.

This summer is shaping up to be less hot than average—it’s still too warm for me.  I’m ready for fall with the first day of 90 degree day.  This year, that came later than it often does and didn’t last as long as usual, too.  At least this summer wasn’t a constant stream of hazy, hot and humid days, but instead was a constant stream of warmer than average days, with no seesawing back and forth between hot and cooler.  It was just constantly in the mid to upper 80s, and the night time temperature didn’t drop as it often does.  As a result the overall effect was a summer about 2.5 degrees hotter than the average of the previous years.  Right now it looks like the 10th hottest August of recorded temperatures in this area.  As I said earlier, I am ready for fall, but I know I’m going to have to wait a while longer.


Scott said...

I think I may have mentioned that nearly all of our turkey poults (and there were quite a few this year) seem to have met their ends. It's so discouraging. However, we have a plethora of Cooper's Hawks and foxes around here, so I'm not surprised, just disappointed.

There are two hens who have paired up and have one very young poult between them. Each day, I expect to see the hens alone, but the poult has managed to make it so far. This morning, the poult was foraging for food in one of the trails, and the two hens were each about 5-8 feet away. It would have been "easy pickings" for a Cooper's Hawk.

We don't have a lot of adult mortality, but we do have some (disease, coyotes, speeding cars). We can get by with limited recruitment of new birds, but we have to have more than just one new bird each year. Maybe there are more successful broods wandering other parts of my preserve of which I'm not aware. I hope so.

Kali and I observed 9 Common Nighthawks over our fields last evening (Sunday)-- our first observations this year! Fall is on its way.

Carolyn H said...

Scott: that's a shame about your turkey poults. Perhaps this is just an extra bad year for mortality for them. I always see these along the road. I imagine it's only because the road isn't heavily traveled that I'm still seeing so many of them.