Tuesday, March 4, 2014
We waited for woodcocks but, this time, they kept their distance
As in years past, we set up our usual picket line overlooking a boggy field at Forks-of-the-River WMA. And we waited as darkness moved into the meadow last Saturday evening.
Geese honked, herons flew over. The towhees went to bed, as did the cardinals. We heard their final calls and chip notes. Good night. Good night, sweet prince.
Clear skies. The stars slowing began to twinkle: Betelgeuse. Rigel. Sirius. Castor and Pollux. Joining Jupiter the mighty. A perfect night for listening for American woodcocks passing through, practicing their courtship displays, their "peent" calls.
This is the one program we do all year at Ijams were you have to be in the right place at the right time. It's part experience, part luck. But on this night I guessed wrong. It happens. A woodcock is usually in the field we watched, but not this twilight. They choose somewhere else.
We heard them in the distance but by then it was too late to move the group in the dark through the muddy winter meadow.
Nature has an easy unpredictability. That's the allure.
Yet, it was peaceful just being there, far from the madding crowd.
Thank you Eliot for helping.
- Stephen Lyn Bales
Posted by Stephen Lyn Bales at 10:56 AM