Thursday, September 21, 2006
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
I'll post some better pictures when I get out there again. I want to put a camera on that tree. At the very least, I'll get some good PIWO shots.
Monday, April 24, 2006
Sunday I was back at the White River NWR. On Saturday I had met Pam Hines who runs the visitor center in St. Charles. It's definitely worth the visit if you get over that way. They have some wonderful exhibits and good maps. I also met Pam's husband, Richard Hines, the refuge's biologist. They are both very nice folks. The visitor center is well worth a visit. I’m happy that our tax dollars are being spent on something worthwhile for a change. I headed to East Moon Lake. While there I found some good examples of tree scaling. I did bring my digital caliper and took measurements. The largest was 6.1mm. I found plenty in the 4mm range and some in the 5’s. The tree had been gone over pretty good, and the grooves were diminished a bit from all the other woodpeckers, but there were a few good grooves left to measure. The bark was still nice and tight, and when removed, I found millipedes underneath. I found another tree on the road from Alligator Lake to Prairie Lake. The grooves were all in the 4mm-5mm range. I most wanted to see what the scaling looked like to compare to what I have here. Now I know what IBWO scaling looks like.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
I also checked out a possible IBWO sighting in Caddo Parrish, La, before I left. This does look promising, but unless I had a canoe or kayak I would have been trespassing.
This afternoon I checked out Dagmar WMA. The forest is wonderful with many trees in the 24-30" dbh range and some even larger. Hardly any pines to be seen which is kinda weird for me. I'm used to it being the other way around. The first thing I noticed is that this habitat looks very similar to the pictures that Tanner took of the Singer Tract. The trees and understory look identical.
The 4 main trees in this picture are all around 24" dbh.
Here are some smaller trees showing the understory.
I didn't see any scaling in here, but I'll admit, I was really wanting to get down to the White River NWR. Word around the campfire is that this is where the action is. I was just figuring on popping on down there. Ummm....nope. Nuh-uh. This place is freekin' huge. I started in Brinkley which still isn't the northernmost part of this place. It took me well over an hour to reach the south end of the WRNWR. And I was bookin' it on the backroads at 70mph. Wow. I would have rather stayed down there, but there isn't anything down there except soybeans, tractors, and tiny towns with no amenities for the weary traveler. The only hotel with high speed internet is here in Brinkley. I hear that there in one over in St. Helena. Maybe if I get up this way again, I'll stay there.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
The thought that you take these sightings seriously is ridiculous.
Which of course then means if your blog takes them seriously then yes your blog is ignorant too.
The IBWO was never stupid. It was a magnificent bird that is now extinct.
Oh...ok. You're just one of the ones who thinks I'm wasting my time out there in the bush looking for imaginary ghost birds perched on Bigfoot's shoulder while waiting to board a UFO. Ok...fair'nuff. I touched on that subject on my blog. I'm used to that. Thankfully, folks telling me that something can't be done hasn't stopped me before. Hope springs eternal, as they say. Here's a little secret. When folks tell me over and over that the IB has gone the way of archaeopteryx, it just makes me want to look harder. Thanks!
I am one of the ones who keeps her head down and keeps a low profile. Frankly, I don't give two flips what people think about me or anything else. I left that back in junior high, thank god. Also, it helps to be in a place where no one really looks. Although, I'm finding more and more folks who are looking here....And you guys know who you are :-) I try not to get caught up in all the retoric. I will not let that happen here. This is simply a journal of my hobby and my outings. I did want to post a reply to that post though since CT has limited his blog to comments only by team members since a recent post stirred up a major hornet's nest of troll posts.
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Anyhoo….If you don’t know the story I won’t ruin it for you. It’s better to listen to it. I apologize for the crappy sound. It was recorded on a teeny digital voice recorder with no external mic, whaddya expect? I did run it through Cool Edit to remove some of the background hiss.
Alex Sanders Talk
Also speaking was John Cely, a wildlife biologist from Columbia. He too was bitten by the IB bug long ago. He was bitten when he read about them in RTP’s field guide to the birds. RTP mentioned that they were to be looked for in SC. So….JC just figured he’d hop on down to the swamp and have a looksee at one. Well, obviously, it wasn’t quite that easy. He did give a very nice talk about the history of IB’s in SC. I’ll give a few details about his chat in another post. Long story short…..I did get to see the Luneau video up close(I was in the front row) and it was projected the size of a movie screen. Whatever that bird is, it’s not a pileated. And, the white on the wings is on the top, not the bottom…. You lose! Good day sir!(with apologies to Willy Wonka)
The piece de resistance, was of course the Harrison video. Apparently we were the 2nd group he had ever shown it to. Upon the first viewing you realize just how darn quick it is. You’re looking at trees, then….zip!!.....some flap-happy bird with really white wings goes flying by. Once you slow it down though, you realize that this isn’t a pileated either. It sure looks like an IB to me. And I saw it 8 times, in various speeds and zooms.
He also played quite a few double knocks and calls from the ARU’s.
I’ll summarize his lecture in another post.
The next day I went for a hike in the Congaree NP. Wow. This was swamp habitat I’m not used to. This was swamp in red-clay country. Not the blackwater lowland swamps I grew up near. And the trees were absolutely HUGE. I’ve never seen this many trees so large on the east coast. The place was loaded with prothonotary warblers, red-bellied woodpecker, pileateds, downys, and hairys. I can see this being a good place for IB’s.
Friday, April 07, 2006
I head this bird calling around sunset. Not sure what it was.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Monday, April 03, 2006
Cypress Creek Topo
Friday, March 31, 2006
Took a trip down to LW on Sunday. I hiked the river trail all the way to the coffer dam at the headwaters of the Waccamaw River, around a 7 mile round trip. It was sort of a blustery day with temps hovering around 60's and the wind was rough coming in off the lake. The trees are starting to green out and make looking through them difficult. I saw some evidence of scaling and found one tree that had been decimated by woodpeckers. I took a few good pictures of this tree which I will post shortly. I used my Leatherman to peel some bark on the tree and found lots and lots of termites. So the tree is still loaded with food. I saw no woodpeckers, only a brown thrasher and assorted chickadees and titmice.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
First stop was the bridge where the fellow who made the report stopped and put in his canoe. Thing is, there are two creeks a mile or so apart. Here is the northernmost one.
I don't think this was the one in question, but it's not much smaller than the other creek. It's about 12 feet or so wide. And it sure didn't look navigable. The southern creek looked a little better. It's a little wider and it looked like it might go for a bit.
The fellow probably didn't go too far, so I'm going to return with my kayak and a pocket chainsaw for the treefalls. I'm going to give a good look for nesting cavities. I'll also play some calls and see what happens. I'm almost done remastering the 1930's Allen recording and I'll be burning it to cd soon.
This creek is the northern border of TNC's land. There is a remnant of their original sign here on the southern bank.
There is a parking area down the road at the trail head. While on the trail I saw many signs of woodpecker activity. The thing I didn't see was woodpeckers. Nor did I hear them. The entire forest was almost devoid of birds, save for a few chickadees and titmice. It was eerie in there with hardly any birds. The only sounds were from the chickadees. I also found a pine with a large nesting cavity. The cavity measured around 120mm in diameter. It was about 15 feet high in a tree with a dbh of 16 inches. The pine was devoid of bark. I would have a picture but my camera ran out of space. I'll get it next trip, since I now have a new digital camera with tons of space. I need to know how large IBWO nesting cavities are in relation to pileateds.
One thing that stands out here is the abundance of dead or dying trees. They are everywhere here. If they produce a food source, I can see woodpeckers having a field day here.
Friday, March 17, 2006
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
I didn't get hooked on chasing ivorybills by looking forlornly at their illustrations in the field guides and hoping to see one in the field while adding to my ‘life’ list. I became hooked on them when I learned how America's father of ornithology, Alexander Wilson, discovered his ivorybill. I'm sure everyone who ever had an interest in the Lord God Bird has heard or read the story about Wilson shooting one and bringing the little guy back to the room he was renting. The bird, though injured, was still severely ticked off at being shot and proceeded to chisel an escape hatch in the plaster wall. Wilson wrote that the bird had "a noble and unconquerable spirit." Well, that event transpired in Wilmington, North Carolina, my birthplace and home.
One of my loves in biology was the re-discovering of lost and presumably extinct species. I would research animals like the thylacine of Australia and panthers still in the Carolinas. BTW...Here's a wonderful book on the subject. I hope that when I do finish my degree, that I can devote my area of research to that pursuit. Anyhow, I did some research on the ivorybill and learned that the little guy has been AWOL since the 40's. Never one to let the voice of reason stop me, I decided that I would give it a shot of finding the bird. I also love challenges. :-) I suspect my overwhelming love for the outdoors and all things wild has something to do with it as well. I get recharged when I'm out in the woods and swamps, and what better excuse to traipse around in the bush than to look for an extinct woodpecker? Especially when you’re told that it’s ‘impossible’ to find one? I do have enough of an OCD personality and enough eccentricity to not let folks calling me a crackpot get in my way....
I do hope that the bird is still out there, even if not in the Carolinas. I was born in a time where all the great swamps and forests were already 'conquered'. I had to read about their depth and mystery in books. I'm not so much of a tree hugger to not know that the rise of America couldn't have happened without the logging and the expansion of the last century. But it's sad that so many species had to lose out for our successes. To find this bird, somewhere, anywhere would be the tiniest smidgen of hope that we haven't careened off the cliff of environmental doom and gloom. That we still might have a sliver of a chance to be the good stewards of the Earth that we are supposed to be.
Monday, March 13, 2006
This place is loaded with pileateds. I heard about 6 or 7 and saw 2. I also saw a red bellied woodpecker. I saw many trees with nesting cavities. I'll try and get back out there with a camera to get some pictures. I recently saw a picture of Dr. Martjan Lammertink with a big printout of pileated nest cavities compared to ivorybills. I really have to get one of those. I haven't ruled out this area as of yet. I still think one of the best bets is somewhere on the Black. I want to get out there again when I have my acoustic playback equipment in order.