The turkeys roost in the large white pines above this ravine. We heard a couple fly down this morning, but it seems they always head towards the river bottom and some pasture land before heading back up this hill and then out to unplowed cornfield that's behind this spot. We both agreed this morning that turkeys are so much harder to hunt than deer. Deer have pretty nice, predictable habits that they follow almost every day. Turkeys don't--especially in the spring when it's mating season. We'll just have to wait and see how things go, I guess. At least for now, the weather report sounds good for next weekend (no rain and temps in the upper 50's).
It was really foggy early this morning (as you can see from the picture above). Here's what it looked like walking across the cornfield towards the woods where our turkey blind will be.
Here's another foggy picture (just because I thought this little white pine has a beautiful shape and provided a little spot of green in a gray/brown landscape!)
At the edge of the woods, I just happened to catch some movement of a little bird low to the ground. I was able to focus my binocs and camera on this Song Sparrow. Isn't its camouflage wonderful?
We took the long way home by way of Mom & Dad's to pick up the milk cartons Dad's schoolkids had saved for me last week (for my veggie seedling transplants). Part of this route runs along a river and that's where I spotted a pair of kingfishers. Here's the one who was sitting on a fencepost closest to the road. I really enjoy seeing these birds.
Also on the power lines above the river, there was a small flock of Cliff Swallows. There is a concrete bridge over this river where they have nested in the past. The next time I'm down this way, I'll try to get some pictures of the neat little mud nests the swallows have built along the underside of this bridge. I'm sure they would have been much more active on a warm, sunny day than this cool, foggy morning.
On our way home, we finally spotted some turkeys: a big group of toms displaying for the hens. Mr. Johnson quickly turned the car around so we could go back and take a look at this show. I was able to capture this short video before the group dispersed.
There are two large toms in the foreground--they have the long beards showing. In the background, together are two "jakes" (the first year toms). You can tell a jake from a tom most easily by their tails. Look closely at those two birds in the background and you will see the center (8 or so) tail feathers stick up farther in the center of their tail "fan". On a mature tom, their tail looks just like a "fan" where all the feathers are the same length. When we're out hunting, what we're looking for is the "beard" that comes out of the center of the turkey's chest (only birds with a visible beard are legal for shooting in the spring). Ideally we'd like to get a big old, heavy tom with a long beard and big tail (and more meat for eating), but seeing as how we have the challenge of going with bow & arrow this year, we will be happy to take any legal bird. And maybe if the turkeys don't cooperate, I'll have a little time to check out the forest edges for migrating spring warblers and sparrows.