Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What happened to Spring?

I was on my way down to the Tom Ridge Environmental Center for one of our Bird Festival meetings when a snow blizzard hit. Never fails it seems we get a Spring snow fall every year and now all my daffodils are nearly flat on the ground from the wet heavy snow. If we can get past this week I'm sure we will be well on our way to warmer weather and all the activities coming up on Presque Isle.

Eastern Phoebe sketch
The photo above is the sketch I did for a painting I'm about to begin. Had to show at least one photo because Saturday's Birding class was cold, cold and windy and I didn't get any photos. Since it was so cold our instructor Jerry knew there would not be much action on the trails and one of the trails was washed over with water. So we stayed close to the bay side looking at waterfowl. The most exciting spotting was when Julie spotted two Great White Egrets behind some Phragmites at the Thompson Bay Area. I'm sure next Saturday's class will be warmer with more bird sightings.

So before I give you our list from this week I want to bring to your attention the calendar of events that you will find at the bottom of our page. We will try to keep it up to date but if you know of any activity going on at the park let us know and we will list it. April 18th will be an active day at PI State Park and here are the events for that day. The annual Hawk Watch will be from 9 am till 1 pm at the TREC. The 18th is also the first day of Trout Fishing and there will be a special children's area at the East Waterworks pond on the park. And for the artist in you there is a series of classes with artist Lee Steadman and writer John Repp on interpreting Presque Isle's natural world. Please call the TREC to register for the workshop but no registration is required for the Hawk Watch. For more information on events and programs by the DCNR and the TREC go here.

Our list of birds this week:
Canada Goose—several at various sites
Wood Duck—at least 15 flying over Thompson Bay, and three or four in Horseshoe Pond
Gadwall—a few in Thompson Bay and in Niagara Pond
American Wigeon—single males in Thompson Bay and Misery Bay
Mallard—a few pairs at various sites
Green-winged Teal—three flying out of Horseshoe Pond
Canvasback—many in Thompson Bay
Ring-necked Duck—several in Niagara Pond and a few flying over Thompson Bay
Greater Scaup—several off Niagara boat launch and in Thompson Bay
Lesser Scaup—many at various sites, but most were in Niagara Pond
Bufflehead—a few at various sites
Common Goldeneye—several off Niagara boat launch and off beach 11
Hooded Merganser—a single female in Horseshoe Pond
Common Mergnaser--a pair off Niagara boat launch and flying out of Thompson Bay
Red-breasted Merganser—many everywhere on the bay
Ruddy Duck—three in Thompson Bay
Common Loon—one flying high over Presque Isle Bay off the second parking lot and one flying out to the lake.
Horned Grebe—one in Thompson Bay
Great Blue Heron—one at Niagara Pond
Great Egret—two in Thompson Bay
American Kestrel—one flew past Pine Tree Trail
American Coot—many in Misery Bay and few in Thompson Bay
Bonaparte’s Gull—100’s, mostly off Niagara boat launch, Thompson Bay, Misery Bay, and the channel
Ring-billed Gull—several flying overhead
Herring Gull—several flying overhead and over open water
Great Black-backed Gull—singles off Niagara boat launch, Thompson Bay, and Long Pond
Caspian Tern—about 8 or ten over Thompson Bay and at least one over Misery Bay
Mourning Dove—a couple over beach 11
Belted Kingfisher—two males off the second parking lot
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker—one male at the west pier
Northern Flicker—one at the channel
Eastern Phoebe—one along the road near beach 11 and one near Niagara Pond
Blue Jay—one heard along Long Pond
American Crow—several throughout
Tree Swallow—one at Thompson Bay
American Robin—several at various sites
Eastern Towhee—one or two heard along Pine Tree Trail and Thompson Bay
Song Sparrow—two or three along the road and one singing at the second parking lot
Red-winged Blackbird—many overhead
Common Grackle—many overhead
Brown-headed Cowbird—many overhead

Jerry McWilliams (Instructor)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Alien Deer at Presque Isle!

[Sounds of a noisy newsroom]...We must pre-empt our regularly scheduled blogram, Where in the World is the Hairy Puccoon?, to bring you this breaking news. Strange alien creatures have been observed wandering Presque Isle State Park. These beings, posing as mild-mannered deer, can be seen grazing throughout the park at all times of day. AND, they have been here for years without their cloak of deceit being detected. It is not until a recent dusk photo shoot that their true nature was revealed! Look at these pictures and see why their ruse has gone undetected for so long.
--------BY DAY--------
Look at this beauty! So seemingly sweet and innocent.Here I am, just minding my own business. Yeah, right!
--------BY NIGHT--------
Now, look at these photos taken on a recent evening.

Not so innocent looking now are they!!

After these photos were shot the "deer" ambled away having no clue that whatever their plot is, it may soon be uncovered. Speculation in the newsroom has been that these creatures are EATING the tasty grasses and acorns Presque Isle provides. OH, the mammality!

Presque Isle, Naturally ace reporters interviewed several resident woodland creatures to get their reactions to this expose.

"Well, I've been trying to lose a little weight, so I don't have a problem with the deer eating some of the acorns. Those unsightly droppings, however, are another story! Do you ever see squirrel scat all over the trails, NO! And another thing...."

"I think they're nice. Wait...did you say they eat acorns...? Why those (*&(#*&#s!!"Hiss, hiss!Frankly, I think it stinks!!

We tried to reach the grass eating deer for comment but none were willing to be interviewed.

[More noisy newsroom sounds followed by muffled conversation] What? Deers' eyes reflect the flash back? It's normal? SO...they're not aliens? Oh, man, I feel like an idiot.

Good news folks! It seems there has been a misunderstanding here at the station and the deer in question are just your standard white-tails. Sorry for the interruption, we now return you to our regularly scheduled blogramming.


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