Tuesday, May 19, 2009

13 May 2009

The first day out is always a disaster. Trying to figure out the exact timing of when to get out in the field always takes a day or so. I wake at 4:30 only to hear the Robins singing already. My goal is to be set up in the field before first light: which on a clear day is an hour before sunrise.
I arrive at the park and scurry to put on my camo, and gather my camera gear. Hiking into the woods at night always is a little creepy--but I at least have the moon to keep me company. 
Whip-poor-wills sing their incessant song, occasionally punctuated by a Nighthawk's 'meep'. The most faint light is on the horizon now--so I'm late. I struggle to adjust the tripod over my crossed knees. Sitting on the ground seems to work best this early in the season; until the grasses become too tall. Somewhere off in the distance, across the bay is the roaring sound of what could be a jet engine. I'm guessing it's Erie Coke. It's amazing how all the city noises make their way over to the park, and make sound recording quite impossible most of the time.
The first visitor to the field is a hen turkey, busily feeding for the upcoming nesting season. After about 30 minutes she disappears into the brush and not a moment later 3 jakes come strutting right down the middle of the trail, making a fuss the entire way. But there's gobbling off in the distance, and a few minutes later two toms come up over the ridge. A chase ensues. Wether this is play or aggression -- I have no idea. Round and around the field: around trees and clumps of bayberry shrubs. Just watching them run makes me laugh. The pursuant never catches the jake, and each group goes their separate ways. I can only imagine this was a turf battle over mates.
By now, it's 10 am, and I'm stiff from sitting in one place for so long. The Wild lupine is beginning to open here and there, and I can't wait for the spectacle that is to come. This is the most Wild lupine I've seen in this area in ten years. A Ruby-throated hummingbird even pays a visit. It's warming up, and time to go.

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