Monday, August 11, 2008

More Turkey Tales

It was a picture perfect weekend at Hasty Brook. I drove up Friday morning, Art and the kids would come up Saturday morning. The first thing I noticed driving up the dirt road toward our place was that the utility company had de-brushed the roadside under the power lines. It was a swath about thirty feet deep. As I turned the car into the driveway I noticed three brown lumps walking my way. I got out of the car to take the driveway chain down and the lumps kept coming. Turkeys! A large female and her two not-so-tiny polts(?). I slowly moved back to stand inside the open car door. It didn't seem they could see me or didn't find me a threat because the walked right up and stood, pecking at the grasshoppers right at my feet. Of course my camera was on the seat but I had my phone in my pocket so I slowly snapped a few terrible pictures. The turkeys were actually too close. By now the horse flies were really chewing my ankles so I shoo'd the turkeys along so I could get moving. They toodled off into the woods and I thought that was that. About an hour later after I had set up the camper I walked back down the long driveway, looking around at the changes from two weeks ago when I was last there. Under a stand of maples I found several turkey feathers on the ground and wondered if maybe the turkeys were using the maples for their night time roost. Back at the campsite with the feeders filled and my favorite camp chair set in the shade, my binoculars and camera in my lap and a TALL Malibu Rum with pineapple OJ in the cup holder, I glanced back toward the road and there they came. The sun was headed down and they were back lit but I could easily see the jumping grasshoppers that they were devouring. As the sun dropped lower I heard the female's wings as she flew up- into the maples! Can you see her?
Eventually after a few calls from mom, the two young turkeys flew up to join her for the night. Before the mosquitoes got too bad I spread some seed mix on the ground around the clearing- mostly white millet for the sparrows with some peanuts for the jays and chipmunks. I settled in the camper with a pile of blankets (it got down to 46 degrees over night!) and a book and went to sleep to the sound of veeries and hermit thrushes. I awoke at 0530 to a sound I'd never heard before. Slowly grabbing my camera I scanned the clearing- nothing. Then I heard it again, right out the window. The turkeys were back- right outside the window. Mom would call to the youngsters constantly, an ascending "yiipe". The really wonderful sound was the bubbling twitter of the two young birds answering her.

The rest of these pictures were taken through the window screens and are quite fuzzy.
"Wake up in there!"
The young birds were constantly in motion.

They seemed to enjoy the seed mix- especially the peanuts. They stayed in the clearing for about an hour and a half scratching at the ground, eating seeds and grasshoppers. They also ate some unknown red berries and drank from the dog bowl. I didn't see them again over the rest of the weekend but I'll be watching for them.

15 comments:

KGMom said...

Lynne--that first photo is wonderful!
You had some quality time with turkeys, didn't you?

NCmountainwoman said...

I love those turkeys. And I love the fact that you had an evening of quiet (and rum) before the others arrived.

Linda in Erie said...

That first photo looks like a gorgeous watercolor! I love the backlit quality. Those turkeys better watch out, Thanksgiving is around the corner... It is so great seeing your photos from Hasty Brook. How wonderful to fall asleep by the sounds of the Hermit Thrushes!

Lynne said...

KGMom- LOL! We bonded during our quality time!

ncmountainwoman- I really love being able to go to Hasty Brook alone from time to time. And you know, I seldom drink alcohol but I really do love Malibu with pineapple OJ!

Linda- Thanks! I liked that photo too. The Minnesota DNR doesn't issue turkey hunting permits in that part of the state. Besides, I like these guys. Next thing you know I'll be naming them...

Ruth said...

Turkey polts...interesting! What an experience to see them at close range.

Bird Girl said...

Hi Lynne -
You sure had a 'wild' (turkey) weekend! Very good pictures considering you had to use the phone...and thru the screen...and YES I do see her in the tree. That was a real neat happening! You might get to be friends with this little family!

Jayne said...

Good to know you weren't there all by your lonesome! They somehow trusted that you would not harm them, esp. when they found the millet and peanuts!

Eve said...

That is just wonderful Lynne! I don't get the turkeys too close to home because our Ole won't allow them in the yard...maybe now, when he gets used to the guineas he'll be more accommodating! Every now and then the turkeys and pheasant sneak in and it's a lovely sight!

Richard said...

Next time you visit, you have to take off a couple of screens so you can get better shots out the window. Great pictures.

Lynne said...

Ruth- The adult female was quite pretty but the young ones...

Bird Girl- I sure hope I do see them again.

Jayne- They especially seemed to like the peanuts.

Eve- My little mutt dog Gidget was there overnight with me. She didn't like the turkeys very much!

Richard- Take the screens off?! I'd need a blood transfusion after the mosquitoes got through with me!!

Leedra said...

Loved the story. Took me down memory lane. I was in the camper with my 6 wk old daughter while the turkey hunters were out hunting. When they returned at lunchtime I told them the turkeys had been in camp with me. This was 28 years ago, and I did not have a camera with me at the time.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Lynne,
If you weren't my friend I would hate you!! ;-)
I am so freakin' jealous, but this is the great thing about wild turkeys living and growing in a much "wilder" and less inhabited area of Minnesota (our SE MN turkeys would never come that close to me).
P.S. Are you planning to post your property as "no hunting" or "no trespassing?" Even if it's not posted, hunters are supposed to ask permission to enter private property, but if they see the turkeys in your driveway and don't know it's private property, they might trespass anyway (the temptation of seeing those turkeys and no home or people around would probably be too great).

Dog_geek said...

Wow - your "quite fuzzy" photos are better than my good photos. We see a big tom turkey quite often on one of our trail runs - he usually has a lot to say to us, and I don't think all of it is nice.

Mary said...

i'd have fun with the turkeys. You know, Linne, you are really improving on your stalking skills. Wish I was there in the passenger seat laughing at you, you turkey.

Larry said...

Those Turkeys remind me of -oh never mind-nice photos!