Posts Tagged Wildlife

Monthly Image: Turkey Mating

Early spring brings out large turkey flocks and provides a window into their otherwise rather private lives.

Despite all the strutting and posturing by the males, the ladies call the shots. When we see a hen go hull-down like this, we know what’s about to happen:

 Turkey mating - invitation

Turkey mating – invitation

Getting into the right position seems remarkably awkward and requires some cooperation:

Turkey mating - mounting

Turkey mating – mounting

When her head and tail pop up, you know the thing is going right:

Turkey mating - the moment

Turkey mating – the moment

And a back massage always feels so fine:

Turkey mating - massage

Turkey mating – massage

Then he’s back to strutting & posturing:

Turkey mating - aftermath

Turkey mating – aftermath

We hope they’ll show us their chicks

Taken with the DSC-H5, hand-held through two panes of 1955-era window glass: ya get what ya get.

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Honeybee Escort

The first pleasant day after a long string of snow and rain got us outside again:

Honeybee escort - 2017-03-29

Honeybee escort – 2017-03-29

The honeybee at Mary’s elbow escorted us for a bit, then flew between us and continued on her mission.

Despite appearances, she passed a few inches from my helmet:

Honeybee escort - detail 2x - 2017-03-29

Honeybee escort – detail 2x – 2017-03-29

We all agreed: it was a fine day for a ride and a flight!

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Turkey on the Rail

We’ve often seen turkeys perched on horizontal tree branches and split-rail fences, but this is new:

Turkey on patio rail

Turkey on patio rail

Apparently she wanted to use the bird feeder atop the post festooned with plastic squirrel deterrence. Not being Elastigirl, she couldn’t quite stretch from rail to feeder, eventually gave up trying, and flapped to the driveway.

We’ve been turkey-watching for nearly two decades, it’s been eight years since we saw a turkey on the patio, and a few days after I set up the yard camerashazam, this bird shows off for my friend in Raleigh while I’m in the Basement Laboratory. I’m insane with jealousy.

In point of fact, turkeys seem perfectly aware of people inside the house, so it’s not surprising they avoid the patio. When we move close to a window, the flock decides it has business elsewhere and, generally without haste or confusion, flows over the hill and away.

Obviously, I must set up motion detection and capture some images …

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Monthly Image: Turkey Vulture Sunning

This must feel soooo good:

Turkey Vulture atop utility pole - alert

Turkey Vulture atop utility pole – alert

Just close your eyes and soak up the warmth of the sun:

Turkey Vulture atop utility pole - snoozing

Turkey Vulture atop utility pole – snoozing

Turkey vultures look imposing, even with all that flight hardware tucked away:

Turkey Vulture on branch

Turkey Vulture on branch

However, I think this is a low-status bird, because those splashes on the left wing look a lot like bird crap…

Taken with the DSC-H5, zoomed all the way tight with the 1.7× teleadapter, handheld on a lovely sunny day.

Update: Because I write these posts a few days in advance of their appearance, I didn’t know yesterday’s weather would look like this:

Driveway clearing - 2017-03-14

Driveway clearing – 2017-03-14

That’s a screenshot from a Raspberry Pi streaming camera I set up so a friend in North Carolina could gloat.

I suppose the vultures huddle in a tree, as do the turkeys, and await better flying conditions.

Enjoy the sun while it shines!

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Squirrel vs. Bird Feeder

After months of attempts and (occasionally) spectacular failures, one of the backyard squirrels managed to climb aboard the bird feeder:

Squirrel on bird feeder

Squirrel on bird feeder

The shutter closes when more than two cardinals and a titmouse perch on the wood bar, so the squirrel didn’t get anything. However, back in 2008, one of that critter’s ancestors mastered the trick:

Not a Squirrel-Proof Feeder

Not a Squirrel-Proof Feeder

Since then, I’ve raised the feeder about five feet and inverted a big pot over two feet of loose PVC pipe around the pole.

Given the number of squirrel-training videos on Youtube, however, it’s only a matter of time until the critters put all the tricks together!

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Turkeys in the Snow

These guys looked completely disgusted with the situation:

Turkeys on rail fence in snow

Turkeys on rail fence in snow

They’re about 130 feet away in a heavy snowstorm that eventually deposited about a foot of wet snow on the area.

The top rail really does slant downward: the tenon on the right end broke and fell out of the mortise.

The DSC-H5 carries the 1.7× teleadapter, zoomed all the way tight through two layers of 1955-ish window glass, hand-held, braced against the pane.

The day before that snowstorm, we biked 18 miles out-and-back over the Walkway in beautiful, sunny, mid-50s (°F) weather:

KE4ZNU-9 - APRS track - 2017-02-08

KE4ZNU-9 – APRS track – 2017-02-08

We ride when we can and shovel when we must!

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Monthly Image: Turkeys in the Trees

A turkey flock forages through the bottomlands along the Wappinger Creek and, at night, roosts in the trees at the far end of our driveway:

Roosting Turkeys - visible

Roosting Turkeys – visible

I’m a sucker for that moon:

Roosting Turkeys - visible

Roosting Turkeys – visible

It’s rising into the eastward-bound cloud cover bringing a light snowfall, so we missed the penumbral eclipse.

If you’re counting turkeys, it’s easier with a contrasty IR image:

Roosting Turkeys - infra-red mode

Roosting Turkeys – infra-red mode

Mary recently counted forty turkeys on the ground, so that’s just part of their flock. I think their air boss assigns one turkey per branch for safety; they weigh upwards of 10 pounds each!

Taken with the DSC-H5 and DSC-F717, both the the 1.7× teleadapter, hand-held in cold weather.

Searching the blog for turkey will turn up more pix, including my favorite IR turkey shot.

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