Male Woodcock trying to get the best singing grounds arrive in the North Country before the snow is gone.
It’s always fun this time of year to gather reports of woodcock moving north. My son-in-law called yesterday to report their dog had flushed one in central Kentucky, Dave Hawke told Tony he’s had then in southern Ohio for a week or more. Rick Claxton called last week to say his dog Mike pointed one in in Epping, NH. Other reports have put them in the western suburbs of Boston and Southern Vermont. Over the weekend, I got a call from Tom Parker, who has a young pointer from me, who saw one fly across Main Street in Gorham, NH Saturday. It seems likely that the bird came up the Androscoggin Valley from the coast of Maine rather then coming over the mountains. Either way, the bird aught to have first pick of the singing grounds in the area as we are still pretty much covered up with snow. Although, even in the coldest, snowiest winters there is open ground around seeps and springs in the woods.
The weather report calls for temperatures in the 50s Wednesday and Thursday and above freezing days after that as well. The snow pack is not very deep and we should be on bare ground soon unless we get a late season Nor’easter. Like the fall migration, the spring flight birds often come in numbers and provide us the opportunity to get out for a few weeks and work the young dogs before the hens are on the nest. Once they are we try to stay away from them until the chicks are flying in late June. After a long winter the first woodcock of the spring are the best cure for cabin fever that I know of.