Sunday, March 15, 2009

15 March 2009

Yesterday was rushed: check traps, shoot Carrie doing radio telemetry, and run home. I thought for sure we'd get a late night call again because we went out to see my niece, Leah, do her Irish dancing at a local pub in celebration of St. Patrick's Day. Well, I'm only 1/4 Irish so maybe my luck will come through next time. 
This morning the shrubs and trees were dressed in the most beautiful white frost. From the ground to at least 6 or 7 feet up, a thick white coat surrounded branches and twigs on all sides. The blinding sunlight made everything look like quartz crystal. No clear tracks in the sand--just sneaker and boot prints everywhere. On the hike back I hear a familiar sound, one that heralds the depth of winter--well, for me anyway. Three Tundra swans fly overhead, and soar lower, lower and land in a nearby pond. The habitat changes in such a short distance here. You can walk through grassland, shrubland, and into forest all within a 1/4 mile. In the forest, beyond the dune somewhere down near the pond where the swans landed, I hear a bird song I don't recognize. This will surely drive me crazy until I find out what it is. Like Rikki Tikki: "run, and find out."
The bird call sounds like a boat whistle. One of those small plastic ones that small craft use for a distress call. I've never heard this before. The bird keeps calling. Thick shrubbery prevents me from investigating further because I'm not dressed for ticks. 
Deer ticks at Presque Isle are prevalent due to the thick vegetation, deer and mouse population and sandy soil. One recent study found that 30% of the Deer ticks at the park are carriers for Lyme disease. And with their nymph stage being no larger than the head of a pin, and adults the size of a crumb I don't want to take a chance. I'll investigate with my bird call CD at home instead. 
Still waiting for coyote number three and four.

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