Friday, April 6, 2018

Phoebe (the Ruffed Grouse)

I started the day with a quick stop at Lion's Field Pond to see if anymore ducks had arrived.  We had a freeze overnight which had flashed over most of the local ponds and salt-pannes, but this one stayed open.

Poplar Catkin

Ring-necked ducks displaying ringed-necks
 The overnight temps caused frost heaves in newly thawed earth, creating miniature ice-castles.

I decided to drive up to Wolfe's Neck in Freeport to see if I could find the local celebrity Ruffed Grouse I had seen posted on Facebook.  Although I didn't know exactly where to look, I had a photo and after driving the length of the 2 mile road a couple times, I stopped the car where the sand on the shoulder matched the photo, got out and hit my Ruffed Grouse playback twice.  Less then a minute later, this magical bird strutted out of the forest and for the next half hour, never left my side, posing on some moss after I suggested a more natural backdrop than the road side, and even pecked my calf as I turned to walk back to my car.  Eventually a local resident pulled over and told me the school kids at the nearby bus-stop had named the bird Phoebe and that they often fed it in the mornings before they got on the bus.  That all made sense, as I have never had such an intense personal experience with another wild animal before.

Ruffed Grouse

"Is this better?"

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