Enter your email address to subscribe

Monday, January 20, 2014

Kingfisher Chatter

(a blog about Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge)

NOTE: Enter your email address above and click "Submit" to subscribe/receive email when new Kingfisher Chatters are posted.  Also check out WWW.FARNWR.ORG to catch up on news, calendar and photos of Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge.

Click on photos below for larger views

20 Jan 2014

Lots to talk about since the last posting. 

Bird Survey (01/11/2014)

 John Milhaven led a winter bird survey at ARNWR on January 11th; a very foggy morning
Foggy walk down Winterberry Way

  Birds were not very plentiful but there were some good sightings including: 

  • Northern Cardinal
  • Cedar Waxwings
  • Golden-crowned Kinglets
  • Belted Kingfisher [ me ;-) ]
  • American Robin
  • Brown Creeper
  • American Robin
  • White-breasted Nuthatch
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • Blue Jay
  • Mallard
  • Canada Goose
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Canada Geese
  • et al.
Cedar Waxwings
Evidence of Raccoon was seen in the snow at the footbridge on Winterberry Way.  Check out the footprint along with those of duck:
Raccoon footprint is in the lower circle and the duck prints are in the upper circle

Snow melt-back revealed Vole tunnels and trails in the snow

Vole trails and tunnels in the snow

Trail Cam

Recently a Whitetail Deer carcass was found along White Pond Rd Trail.  Bob K, one of the Refuge volunteers, dragged it off the trail into the woods.  Ranger Kizette notified Gary F who subsequently deployed a motion-activated trail camera aimed at the carcass with the hopes of identifying wildlife that comes to investigate and feed on the dead deer.  When there is sufficient light the camera records in color.  At night an infrared (IR) flash kicks in and it photographs in gray-scale tones.  When the sensor sees an animal the Trail Cam is set to take a picture every 30 seconds until the animal is out of view.  The Trail Cam has been in the field for a week now and has taken several interesting shots.  Below are sample pictures (note the date and time stamps in the lower right corner of the photos):

So far five animal species have been photographed feeding on the carcass including: Fisher; Red Fox; Red-tailed Hawk; Raccoon and Eastern Coyote .  Here are some samples from the several hundred photos (remember, you can click on the pictures for larger images):



 Red Fox
Red Fox

Red-tailed Hawk

Deer carcass as of 01/15/2014

Deer carcass as of 01/17/2014

Eastern Coyote

In addition to animals feeding on the carcass, humans were photographed off-trail by the Trail Cam (No!  Not feeding).  Apparently they followed the fur and blood from when the carcass was dragged off White Pond Rd. Trail  (see two photos below and note that the faces have been purposely blurred for publication):



Although Common Ravens are frequently seen in this part of the Refuge they aren't feeding on the carcass.  It could be that the Red-tail, also commonly seen in this area, is keeping other birds at bay.  It will be interesting to watch and confirm this behavior.  

Ranger Kizette is keenly interested in seeing a bobcat feeding on the deer.  To date there have been neither  bobcat photos on the Trail Cam nor tracks found in the vicinity.

Tomorrow, the next set of photos will be downloaded from the Trail Cam.  If there is anything new or interesting they will appear in another post shortly.  It is apparent that the dead deer will be a feeding site for a while longer.

Come visit Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge.  Observe the rules and enjoy.

--- The Kingfisher