Habitat Management

It was a big day for Tony.  He actually pointed the camera in the right direction as I ran the tiller and tractor in and around the cover in our primary training cover he took pictures and they tell the story of the place and what we are trying to accomplish.  Our primary hypothesis is that if we turn over some of the soil it will help hold woodcock in the cover  throughout the summer.  We used two strategies: the first was to turn over a strip of soil along the edge of the big fields, and also due the same on some of our trails the run inside the cover.  The tiller belongs to the guy who has a camp at the far end of the cover.  He doesn’t have a tractor so we tilled his garden and a feed plot that is an easy shot from his camp.  His hope is to attract some deer in the fall into the corn patch, but considering the fact that the cover is loaded with bears  (one took our cooler last summer when we were mowing trails) the corn will most likely be long gone before deer season opens.  Sunday, when Tony and Marie walked down to see the camp owner he had just had a confrontation with a 500 pound bear that didn’t want to leave his yard.  Tony saw the bear on the way out, but fortunately Marie was between Tony and the bear.  After doing the tilling for the for the camp owner on Thursday, we started down one of our main trails and did a long section before we got into a section that had a lot of fir and spruce trees and we broke some of the shearpins in the tiller on some roots.  We brought the tiller out and over to my house. Tommy helped me put new shearpins in and then borrowed the tractor.  We spent most of the weekend replacing shearpins and working on the tractor.  Fortunately today we worked for close to three hours with no breakdowns. 
This is a little clearing in the cover that we keep open with the brush hog.  The cover to the right of the tractor is typical of the area.  The larger trees are cherries and there is an understory of both alders and choke cherries.  There are also some high bush cranberries in this as well.   In the fall it is a good spot for grouse.  In the summer there has been woodcock roosting in this clump during the day. 

After two passes with the tiller we had a nice rich bed that should make it easy for the woodcock to probe for worms.  We put these strips in the cover and along the edge of the fields.

This brook flows down along the side of the entire cover which is great in the summer as the dogs can hop into the water at any time they want to.  In dry years we can cross the brook and their is even more cover on the far side.

Long ago Tony numbered the sections 1 through 4.  This old snow machine bridge marks the border between sections 2 and 3.  When we came down here last Friday we had to do some repair work on the bridge before we could get the tractor across.

When Tony turned around at the bridge this is the view down  what was once a hay field that supplied hay  for the horses that worked in the woods.  The right side is strip of cover that is 50 to a 100 feet wide with the field to the left and the brook to the right.  It looks like solid cover but there are trails that wind in and out.  In the left side there is a long trail that takes you almost to the end of section 3.  The field was starting to get brushy so last summer we mowed it in hopes that it would be more attractive as a singing area and a night roosting field in the summer.  Tony and Lloyd Carney walked down in here in March and heard 3 or 4 males signing here.  The mountains in the background are in Maine.

Just inside the cover in the photo above is one of our trails that had the top of a cherry tree that had snapped off last fall that needed to be cleared before we could run the tiller through here.  Just to the right  of the trail is a ditch which has held a very annoying woodcock for the last few years.  When you get the bird pointed he is more likely to run into the tall grass and ferns along the brush or up or down the ditch rather than fly.  It’s our current plan to wait until the middle of next month and then run Jack down through all three sections to get a sense of what we have for birds.  

Posted in Current News.

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