|Google Earth is a great way to find new covers once you know what they look like.|
Yesterday Tommy called to tell me that he had run Veronica in a new spot that morning and moved six grouse. He tried to explain where it was and then said it would just be easier to show me on Google Earth. He was only a few minutes from the house and came right over. As we poured over the Google Earth images he kept pointing out additional cuts that I’d never seen that seemed to fit all of our criteria — right age class, not too steep, a certain amount of wet ground, and most important of all, whole tree harvested and chipped on site. I’ve said before here that Tony and I had been driving by miles and miles of cover to get to certain spots that often contained brooks and alders. These have always been reliable cover for both grouse and woodcock but not the most user friendly. Disproving the adage that “you can’t teach old dogs new tricks” we are now looking for different cover and satellite imagery along with intel from Tommy has opened a whole new world to us right in our big backyard.
Today, with a print out from Google Earth, we went into one of the spots Tommy had suggested and with LJ and Booker Groy’s dog Shine on the ground rammed around for a while learning where to and not to go. In the process we moved a pair of grouse, a brood of about five, a single, and we heard at least one other flush. Not bad for an hour in which we spent the last 10 or 15 minutes circling around a swamp that didn’t seem to hold any birds. We then had a couple heavy showers which we waited out but the birds seemed to had gone to ground when we got into the Dead Tree Cover where we ran Little Thuddy last week.
Before we went Cover Hunting we ran Jack and Little Thuddy down through Red Barn with Jack having 2 woodcock and a grouse and the Little Thudster having a grouse and a back. Hopefully the colder weather (we have frost warnings tonight and tomorrow) will move some birds back into the Barn. We also ran Zack, Tony’s new camper, in one of the spots where we have the woodcock named. He found three and needed a little training on the flush. Nice dog — it will be fun to see him get back down to his running weight and get tuned-up on his birds. We also flushed a grouse out of that area that the dog never got close to.
Total for today, without using the Thudddd multiplier, a dozen grouse and 5 woodcock in a rain delayed and shortened morning. Tomorrow we are planning to go find the cuts in the Google Earth image above. You might notice that I cropped off the border that had the longitude and latitude. You may not be able to find this particular spot but the image should give you an idea of what to look for anywhere in Northern New England.