Monday, December 6, 2010

Skipping Logs: Migration Rundown

It’s only been a 2 weeks since migration started, but it feels as though it’s been ages. I barely remember what happened 4 days ago. This is my brief (as it can be) rundown of events:

 (You'll have to zoom in on this pic to see the flying birds)

Nov 20th – Havarti, Queso, and Feta flew right past the field where the chicks usually landed just south of the refuge and kept going south. Whaaaa!!!! I followed soon after. When I caught up to them on the road, I found that they didn’t have any adults with them. Who knows where they would end up? I actually managed to stay close to them the ENTIRE day until the very end. But they landed on the Mississippi, and I was able to find them the next morning in Iowa. The next day, strangely, 13-03 and 18-03 showed up, and the chicks followed them for the rest of Migration. 

Also Pepper Jack reappeared on the refuge. He floated around from adult group to adult group before finally joining the chicks on the Refuge the next day.

Nov 23rd – Crazy windy day. All the adults who were left on the refuge and in the surrounding area just POURED out. Everyone started flying south; even the rest of the chicks. This time, they were with adults. Eva followed a large group of chicks into Illinois. Pepper Jack and Roquefort weren’t with the group, but we hoped they were together wherever they were.

My chicks; Havarti, Queso, and Feta flew south with their adults to South Western Indiana. I had to drive overnight just to catch up to them.

Nov 24th – Crappy rainy day. Nothing much happened, but Eva’s chicks/adults group disappeared. Why would they migrate in this weather? Eva’s group includes Gouda, Ricotta, Fontina, Goat, and Baby Saganaki. Well they kept moving south anyway, we found them 2 days later.

Nov 25th – My chicks are staying put. In fact, Eva’s not sure they will migrate any further. They are at Wheeler Wildlife Refuge, and that’s where 13-03/18-03 have wintered before.

Spotted Roquefort, but no Pepper Jack. At least Roq was with 4 adults! There’s no way he’s getting lost if he plays it smart and stays with them. I switch birds. We’re pretty sure Roq will be going somewhere with his adults.

No sign of Eva’s chicks.

Nov 26th – Eva’s Chicks show up in South Eastern Indiana. Everyone’s still alive and all together. Whew.

While I’m following Roquefort and his gang as they migrate south through Indiana, I hear PJ!!!  I’m going to guess he was near Cayuga, Indiana at the time, but a flight the next day didn’t show any sign of him. Well, since I couldn’t get closer to his signal, I just stayed on Roq and his gang. We made it to the very South East corner of Indiana. 

Nov 27th – Roq lost 2 of his adults. They just up and flew off without the rest of the group. They had been bickering all morning, so it was probably for the best. The 3 remaining (roq, 5-05 and 15-04) got a really late start. They left at 2 in the afternoon, made it through Kentucky and roosted somewhere on the KY/TN border.

Everyone else (though we really don’t know anything about Pepper Jack) pretty much stayed put.

Nov 28th – Roquefort made it to Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in Tennessee! He’ll probably stay there through the winter. That’s where 5-05 and 15-04 stay. It’s also where I’ll be staying during the winter months between migrations.

Nov 29th – Dec 2nd – I hang out at Hiwassee, just scanning through all the frequencies. I’m trying to see who’s migrating through. I’m keeping an eye on Roquefort, though it’s frustrating because it’s hard to get a visual of him. I can’t tell if he’s with the adults or not, because their radio transmitters don’t work. Also I’m keeping a close eye on Mr. 5-01. He’s a big troublemaker in Florida. He likes to attack the Ultralight chicks and try to scam food from the pens, I hear. Once he leaves Hiwassee, I’m to call the Refuge in Florida right away to warn them he’s coming.

Pepper Jack shows up in Cayuga!!! He’s with the Jones’!! hooray!! He found a place where he belongs, and I’m really happy that he’s safe. Strangely, 11-02 (or George) has been known to winter near Cayuga, so if PJ stays with them, they may not migrate further south. That means that potentially, most of the chicks have found their wintering grounds. Only time will tell, but Eva’s chicks may move on from Muscatatuck. It only took a week to migrate.

Dec 3rd to Present – I drove up from TN to sit on PJ in Cayuga. On the way, I stopped in to see the chicks in Muscatatuck. I didn’t get to see them L, but at least they were all together. 

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