Ok, so after all these years of wondering and puzzlement, I am getting close to a believeable (for me at least) opinion on:
“WHAT DOES A PARTRIDGE DO FOR GRIT DURING THE 4 MONTH WINTER IN THE NORTH MAINE WOODS?”
I’ll keep this simple – here’s background: Birds don’t chew food, they have beaks. They gobble up leaves, seeds, bugs, nuts, berries and store it all in their crop, an internal grocery bag. From there the food gets squeezed through the gizzard, a muscle that has the digestive tract in its center. The gizzard squishes, squeezes and massages the food into a pulp. To aid this pulping, a bird will ingest stones and keep them in the gizzard. These stones knock around in there, against each other and pulverize the food, making it digestible. Eventually these stones wear down and pass through the bird in the process.
But in the winter, there is 4 feet of snow, EVERYWHERE. What’s a bird to do? It cannot get grit for its gizzard. Sure it can go to a plowed road, but partridge have been wintering in the woods eons before there were roads. The answer lies with these links below. It’s really interesting stuff (for a geek like me).
Basically, it is posited that the bird does two things: Hold the grit for as much of the winter as it can, rather than letting grit pass. It also has the ability to mash up food just by squishing it with itself, gritless. Yes, a partridge can gum its food.
Other cool facts are that a bird will choose whiter stones sometimes. Because they are prettier? Maybe, but more likely they know they are HARDER than other stones – think quartz. Also, why is bird hunting so good along the roads? Normally localized, partridge will break their small boundaries by many miles to get roadside for a winterful of gizzard rock.
The next time someone calls you a birdbrain, consider it a complement!
More info for the other geeks out there:
Link to Spruce grouse page:
Link to grouse feeding on a winter road:
Link to grit feeding station:
Link to pdf file concerning grit and grouse:
NEWS FROM 2017 "Literary Gamboling with Alacrity"
PLEASE WRITE A REVIEW!!
In this issue you'll hear about ice cutting, fishing laws, recent and ongoing projects, special weekends and events for 2018, Reed Pond update, jellyfish (yes....), partridge and gravel, and more. ENJOY! Karen and I, and all our staff including Tiffany, Chad, Josh, Pete, Lewis, Thomas, Sean, Tom, Kevin and Danny look forward to seeing you this summer!!
Munsungan still remains very full of lake trout and salmon. We will continue our effort to take fish, targeting all lake trout, especially small to medium sized fish. It is known that larger lakers eat smaller ones, so the lake can benefit from releasing ol' mosseygill to eat its own. So keep trolling, keep catching, keep bringing them in. The only way to be sure we are getting ahead of it is to see the numbers decrease, and still see a healthy smelt population. The past spring smelt run had great evidence of spawning in Norway Brook, although it occurred mostly under the ice and we missed a lot of it. Another positive indication is that the fish that we are catching all seem healthy and well fed. We remain positive and happy to enjoy such good fishing.
Our biologist Frank Frost surveyed Reed in June using gill net sets of short duration. He got very exciting results: Three distinct age classes were netted, positively ID'd from the spawning fall run of 2011, 2012, and 2013. Subsequent years of fish would not have shown up, as the net guage was too large to catch the younger fish. This means that from the beginning we have had good spawning with the blue back. For his efforts Frank Frost received an award from the American Sport Fish Society, here is the article link:
Frank made sure to mention the team effort with this, including work from Bradford Camps.
Karen and I flew with state biologist Merry Gallagher to Wassataquoik Lake in Baxter Park and Reed Pond, simply to get water.... Other surveyors did the same thing on all other Blueback waters in Maine. Here's the scoop: all living things give off cells continuously into the water or atmosphere where they inhabit; essentially we are eroding all the time, and rebuilding those cells. In theory this means that water bodies will have a DNA recordof every fish species in the water. IN THEORY, one could extrapolate the concentration of the species in the body of water. This project is in the infant stages, but holds promise, and we will be sampling again this year. If it works, then it could replace, or at least minimize, the costly, intensive and sometimes harmful efforts to net-sample fish. I love science, this is cool stuff! Check out the video:
So I couldn't help myself but investigate those freshwater Jellyfish.....
They are present in dozens of ponds in Maine and in most states within the US as well as Canada. There is not a lot of science on them, however they appear to be a species that is native to the Yangtze River Basin in China. They were reported in the waters of Great Britain in the late 1800's and the first documented in the US in the early 1900's
For the most part you will almost never see them, as this species spends most of it's life as a dormant polyp that lives on the undersides of aquatic vegetation. However, in years where the weather in late summer/early fall is above average in temperature and very dry (ie this September), the critter will develop a "medusa" and swim actively in the water column. They will remain active for a very short time feeding on plankton before they return to their dormant state. They are poisonous but their stingers cannot penetrate human skin.
No one has any idea of what their environmental impact is, as apparently no one is studying them. There is an organization that does track and catalog reported sightings of them. Matthews Pond is on their list.
Please Click here and talk us up online!
A great weekend, Martin Luther King watched over us as we harvested yet again 12 tons of ice from Munsungan. It was a very difficult arrival, the snowmobile would not stay on the snowpack, it just sunk in and got stuck, repeatedly, and then again, and once more..... We had to break trail on foot for the machine a lot of the time. As always, mother nature has a trick up her sleeve, more than we will ever see....
Great food, great people, and we built a TREBUCHET! (see video)
AND "we" (ok, John) went swimming.... on PURPOSE!
BUY YOUR MAINE FISHING AND HUNTING LICENSE ONLINE!
That's all, just buy it!!
(Or if you really like spending analog face time with Igor,
- of course you do - then don't buy it and I will fill one out with you when you get to camp!)
We had an excellent Maine Black Bear season, with 15 bear taken for 19 hunters. It was way better than average (the state average is under 50%). The South Carolina group from Morees Sporting Preserve had great luck the first week, as did our second week group of 6 hunters. Sizes were average, the bear health seemed very good. The largest bear were over 300 pounds.
We had a moose hunter, Daryl Wood, the last week in September, and on Tuesday he bagged a great big bull at the outlet of Munsungan. Josh Collins did a magnificent job of bringing the hunter to this bull and very close to numerous other bulls beforehand.
Bird Hunting continues to be the best in Maine, as reported from our hunters who travel the state looking for grouse.
Shown Below are Karen and me, with father John Rogers and his wife Judy. Father Rogers - known affectionately to all at St. Georges as "Fa-Ra" - performed our wedding ceremony, almost 30 years ago at St. George's School in Rhode Island. Back when I attended SG, Fa-Ra spoke twice a week in the chapel, delivering meaningful sermons to a bunch of fidgety teenagers. Karen and I through the years have remembered Fa-Ra during our musings to each other about being married so delightfully long. We were so happy to have Fa-Ra and Judy come for a visit. And while Karen and I do not have an organized religious habit, Fa-Ra is one of the very important spiritual people in our lives.
A very special mention needs to made concerning the hardworking and dedicated staff at Bradford Camps. Through the ages, maybe five generations of workers have been on the shores of Munsungan lLake and they all share a few things in common (having never met most of them, I am still quite sure this is true):
Hard working, early rising
Eccentric sense of humor
Sensitive to everyone around them
All of the Bradford Camps workers have shared these traits for our tenure at least, from Gerry Bard on down. I think this is quite rare in the working world, the office environment, the public sector, or anywhere. Karen and i are quite lucky to have this feature as a bonus in our life's occupation.
Stand up and take a bow: Chad Rozelle, Tiffany Craig, Josh Collins, Callie Tolman, Pete Drummond, Thomas Freedman, Kevin Tracewski, Mark Christian, Mark Kingsbury, Lewis Hews, Tom Alarie, Sean Sturmer, Hannah Drummond, Danny Aucoin.
You guys and gals are the bedrock that keeps the place afloat !!!! (Please, oh please tell me you like that metaphor ! )
DO YOU KNOW WHAT A PARAPROSDOKIAN IS????
"We never really learn to grow up, only how to act in public"
"If I agreed with you, we would both be wrong"
"A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory"
"Going to church does not make you religious any more than standing in a garage makes you a car"
"I used to be indecisive, but now I am not so sure"
"Money does not buy happiness, but it makes misery so much easier to live with"
So now you know! (special thanks to Chris Gates)
Welcome to 2018! Its the middle of March and the daffodils in our Kittery from yard are just peaking up after a snowy winter. Karen and I hope that you are all doing well. We have had a nice winter, busy with seeing friends and family, music, and projects around the house. In the beginning of running Bradford Camps, 22 years ago, we worked during the winters to earn money to pay for the privilege of owning Bradford Camps in the summer. Well we are finally ahead of that curve, but still we spend a huge amount of time in the winter running the camps - emails and mailings, maintaining contact with our staff, ordering supplies, and winter trips to camp. I honestly do not know how I was able to hold a full time job in the old days AND do all this!
Join us with professional birder Ron Joseph as we traipse around Munsungun looking for common and rare species of wild birds. Last year in just two days we recorded 82 species: including 20 warblers, spruce grouse, grey jay, and boreal chickadee. We are closing in on good territory for the three toed woodpecker and black backed woodpecker. This might be the year! Call or click above for info.
A weekend of history, aviation, sociology, religion, engineering.... geez, what else is there? Politics? Ok, but only from LAST century!
We are nearly full, so call soon, book, and learn! Its a renaissance weekend!
This year we are busy with two sessions! Sarah Hunt has hit a home run with this woods adventure for the knitting and dyed-in-the-wool advocate. Participants will learn knitting techniques, dyeing techniques, Indigo dyeing, along with fly casting, map and compass, flint and steel firemaking, and a host of other fun and interesting out-of-the-box subjects. Plus.... REALLY fun people!! Click here and sign up!