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Claybrook Mountain Lodge
March, 2015

March is the time to tap the maple trees. Traditionally I start tapping on March 1st but last year sap didn’t start running until nearly the end of the month. This March I was more cautious and waited until the sap run actually began. Like last year it was cold and windy and started really late. March was more like February. Snow conditions were good and trails were passable for the entire month.

There have been no deer here at all in March, but we do have a small flock of turkeys. They have been more wary than flocks we have had in the past. I think that when the snow doesn’t support them, they can’t run easily and are afraid to let me get near. They would come to the chicken yard to scratch for corn but fly as soon as I came out the door. Mostly they didn’t go far and were perched where they could watch while I put the corn out. Once I was out of sight they would come in. Now there is a crust and they know what it means when I go to the chicken house. A few of them come close and wait for me to feed them.

Winter is finally winding down and the Blackbirds have arrived. Flickers are feeding in the field and “Sammy” the Sapsucker is tapping the backboard of the mailbox and every other thing that makes a good sound. For the first winter since we have lived here there were no flocks of Evening Grosbeaks at the feeders. Pat saw a small flock one day back in December and that was it. I hope this isn’t a trend. Chickadees and Juncos have been the most common visitors in March. The Turkey Vultures arrived looking the maples over for their usual bait piles but I didn’t get any carcasses for them this year. I guess that is a good thing for the deer population.

I have seen moose sign on the ski trails in March without the blood spatters and engorged ticks we saw last year. I hope that the severity of this winter and last has knocked them down a little. Last year was a huge year for Blue Jays and I saw a lot of evidence that they were consuming ticks. It would be worth a study to see how they figure in the equation. This year the numbers here are way down compared to last winter.

The cold and snow would not let up for the entire month of March even when mud season had begun. We woke up one morning and the ground was covered with 4 inches of heavy wet snow. We have all been looking forward to some beautiful days, but March was not the month for that. The evaporator is ready, the buckets are hung, and a little sap has started to run.

                                        “Gang Warily”,
                                             Greg and Pat

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