Tom's Blog

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Turkey poults in action

Yesterday I spent some time chasing down some turkey poults while mowing the Valley Prairie fire break. (The photo above is the best I could do with my pocket camera while driving the tractor.) They liked the mowed lane a lot better than the tallgrass prairie, and refused to go off into the weeds. There were three of them, and they managed to keep ahead of the mower, but just barely. They are apparently still flightless.

We have a lot of turkeys around (I flush adults often in the savannas), and we have been seeing "babies" for quite a while now, usually on the service road or the fire breaks. I trapped the three today when I brought in the Kubota tractor to mow the breaks. I felt bad about chasing them down the lane, but they refused to leave, and I had no way to turn around. Eventually I reached the end of the fire break where the vegetation was lower and they were able to scurry out of the way.

It finally dried off enough so that I could finish mowing the fire breaks for the Valley, Barn, and Crane Prairies. All three of these prairies border the wetland, and the heavy rains earlier this summer had raised the water level in the marsh so that parts of the fire breaks were under water, or wet enough that the tractor sunk into the goo.

These fire breaks also serve as a great hiking trail along the marsh, making it possible to get very close to all the wetland plants without getting one's feet wet. (In the photo above, the Valley Prairie is on the right and the marsh on the left.)

I strongly recommend that visitors do this hike, since the wetland is very nice, with lots of diversity and plenty of wildlife. It runs about a half-mile parallel to Pleasant Valley Road and provides a nice loop trail back to the parking area at the Conservancy entrance.


Blogger floods said...

Hiked your trails today for the first time. Impressive. We're beginning to restore 8 acres to an oak savanna. You've set the bar high.

Saw two red headed woodpeckers today on the trails...always special.

Dan/Sally Flood

August 17, 2008 at 2:07 PM  

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