Took a long walk around the home cover today and got the first look at the “Patch Cut” (pictured above) we did this winter in addition to the main cut of about 25 acres. If there was any doubt about the fact that grouse like a sunny edge, the bird that flushed almost next to me as I went along the upper edge of the cut made it clear where it likes to be. The snow out in the open is going fast but I was a little disappointed when I tried going up a trail into an uncut area and was soon post-holing into knee deep corn snow. This week should be a big help in getting this white stuff out of here. There are already reports of woodcock in the area but it’s going to be hard to get to them for awhile yet.
Removing all the spruce and fir that was marketable has left a wide open area behind the house and there are deer all over the cut feeding on the little bit of greenery that was left behind. As you can see below there are quite a few small hardwoods missed in with the source and fir. They will grow quickly without the competition from the evergreens and the hope is we will get a lot of hardwood regeneration as there are enough mature trees to provide seed for new growth. There are also some small alder patches that should expand as well. In addition we have uncovered a number of apple trees, some I knew they were there as well as few surprises. We also had them leave the white pines partly because we really like them and also because we didn’t think there were more than a few. Turns out there were a few more hidden in the spruce and fir thickets. The expectation is that in addition to improving the grouse habitat we will attract some resident woodcock that can fins cover in the remaining busy clumps as well as along the edges of the cut. There were always native woodcock on the hillside in until the softwoods got to mature. In addition to good cover the wide skidder roads and the big landing should provide some new singing grounds as well. Today is the first day that has been warm enough to expect woodcock to be singing. I try to be out at dusk to listen for them.