Thursday, April 14, 2011

Aerie Report, April 14, 2011

Not much happening around here.

Yesterday (Wednesday) was a rainy cool day in central PA. Temperatures stayed above the 40 degree mark over Tuesday night, however, so we avoided the little snow showers that were predicted.

I made another run south to pick up baby eels for transplant into Pine Creek. Three hundred miles in the drizzly rainy weather. Not quite as nice a ride as a couple of weeks ago. The folks in Fish & Wildlife are pleased to have the members of the Tiadaghton Audubon Society doing a goodly portion of the schleping for them. I carried empty coolers south and brought something between 20 and 30 thousand eels north. Sometime in June, after they have grown some, they will be released into the creek with the hope that they will serve as hosts for baby mussels. The mussels hitch a ride to new areas to colonize and clean the creek waters. The goal is to move over 100 thousand eels around the dams in the Susquehanna River and into the upper waters of Pine Creek this summer.


Now that things have thawed out some, I noticed that my truck cap was leaking a little water. Today I tried to remedy that by putting a layer of foam tape between the cap and the truck bed. The installer had put some there but it didn't seem to be doing the job. Perhaps that was because his installation was rattled by the rough roads in Alaska and the Yukon (not to mention those around the Aerie and Bolt Hole). The front end of the truck bed is not that wide on top and the weather stripping may have slipped off the edge. We'll see in the next week or so if the stuff I put on has made any difference. The forecast calls for lots of opportunity for testing! An inch of rain is on tap for Saturday and showers are forecast for a dozen of the next 15 days.


Today, however, was a beautiful spring day. Plenty of sunshine on hand and temperatures in the upper 60s. You can almost watch the grass in the lawn, pastures and hay fields getting greener by the minute. The birds are feeling spring in the air too. A robin has begun building a nest on one of the corner logs on the garage end of the Aerie and a wren has a neat little nest in one of the three houses I have out. (I didn't check the others yet.) The robin isn't serious about building yet. Just a few strands of grass and pieces from the frayed tarp are plastered to the top of the log under the eave. Normally, once he starts, it doesn't take him long to get things done. Perhaps he's waiting to get the okay from some female before he goes too far. I can hear the wren singing from the brush occasionally, but haven't caught a clear view of anything but a little brown bird with an uplifted tail flitting about.

A flock of 13 female turkeys appeared where the feeders are Tuesday morning. They scratched a little before heading off into the woods. For a birds with feathers done up in little more than shades of brown and gray they can be remarkably striking. This evening, Terry and I saw a similar sized flock walked single file up through the woods about 30 yards from the deck. Perhaps they were heading to the top of the hill and the stand of large hemlocks that serves as a roosting site. That or they will turn a bit west and go to roost in the Norway spruce stand on the other side of the field at the back of the property.

The chickadees, juncos and mourning doves haven't given up on coming to the yard in search of seeds even though I haven't put the feeders out the since Sunday. It's possible the redpolls finally got the message and headed north. I haven't seen one since Tuesday.


Down in the valley you can see some of the deciduous trees--mostly poplars--have begun to sprout leaves. At the Aerie, only the swelling of the buds gives the promise of green soon to appear. A few of the red maples are also showing color in their buds and should be bursting into flower in a few days. I'm still waiting for the shad bushes to open their white flowers. They usually do so before any real leaves open in the other trees as if to make sure you can clearly see them.

I haven't spotted any wildflowers in the woods yet, but the crocuses we planted are all up and seem to have spread a little. The three or four bulbs we put in each spot now appear to be nine or ten strong. A few other plants (probably daffs) have sent their greenery above ground but flowers are a week or more away. The miniature tulips and the rest won't make an appearance until May--if the squirrels, chipmunks and other critters let them.


Okay, tomorrow will be another nice day (knock on wood!)--perhaps the last before the rains start again. I'll probably get out early in the morning to wage war with the burgeoning thistle population before they spiny little buggers get too large. A little Round Up should do the trick as long as the rains don't come until late at night. Then, I'll accompany Terry over to Troy. There's a boot store over there that sells Danner Boots. I need a good pair with a steel toe for cutting firewood and such. (Nothing ruins your day like dropping a section of tree on your toe!) Rick, my arborist son out in Portland, OR like the Danner product and recommended them to me. This model looks promising. A bit pricey and not made in the USA but the reviews are positive and the company has an excellent reputation.


Rev. Paul said...

Never a dull moment around there, is it? By the way, how is "Tiadaghton" pronounced?

JDP said...

Hope the fix on your camper top works. The second night after getting my new camper top installed we got hit with a spring thunderstorm with 60 mph + winds and over an inch of rain. I went out the next morning and opened the back and took a look and was glad to discover there was not one drop of water in the truck bed.