Wednesday, March 25, 2015

March Madness on Elmira Pond

Invite Your Buddies to March Madness
Keep a Comfortable Distance From the Pond
Ready a Chair Under the Apple Tree

So all you NCAA basketball geeks, step aside. Go eat your nachos and have a beer at Sweet Lous,  Laughing Dog Brewery or your own neighborhood pub.

This March Madness is for bird nerds!

Grab the binoculars, camera and the crew. Set up at your favorite viewing spot with an optional beverage of choice (water is wisest, but coffee warms hands on a cool day).

Here on Elmira Pond a chair beneath the old apple tree is best. It isn't too close to pressure timid visitors, yet it is perfect for binocular viewing.

This year I'm inviting my fellow bird nerds to learn about the Big Migrators to or through Elmira Pond. I've tossed in a couple of Wild Cards. "Team Crows" are not migratory, but they take an increased interest of the pond with new visitors. "Team Cat & Crew" are my companions to witnessing the March migration.

A few words about weather in Elmira. Located 17 miles north of Sandpoint, ID and about 45 miles south of the Canada border, we are part of the Inland Northwest and derive enough moisture to grow conifers up to 180 feet tall. We get  six seasons: rainy spring, spring, summer, fall, rainy fall and winter. The two rainy seasons are vital to the forests, valleys and waterways of northern Idaho.

Inland Northwest Courtesy of Wikipedia

Many of the migrators coming from south of Idaho are in serious drought. Rivers are trickles, lakes are dry beds and there's not enough snow pack in the mountains to help with the coming summer. At first I thought our migrators were showing up early because it's been milder this last bit of winter, but it could be that drought is pushing them north at a faster rate.

If you are a backyard birder, leave a comment about what is happening in March where you live, and whether or not you are seeing any unusual activity. Please take time to read the posts linked to each "Team" below and then come back and vote for your favorite.

Team Canada Geese

Team Cat & Crew

Team Crows

Team Mallards

Team Hooded Merganser

Team Ringed-Necks
Team Tundra Swans

Team Wigeons

Once you've read about each team, take this survey to cast your vote! Thank you for joining me in March Madness!
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  1. Can't I vote for two favorites? ;) I really enjoyed this post so much. I love how you set up the teams, Charli. Reading each one was a bit of fun education for me and I learned a lot about your annual visitors! Of course my favorite is Team Cat and Crew (for obvious reasons). But another favorite is Team Crows. Your writings about crows makes me want to befriend one! It reminds me of a fascinating post I saw about a little girl who has been feeding backyard crows and they keep bringing her gifts that she collects. Thanks for a little March Madness such as this! It's clever and fun.

    1. I know what you mean -- I have many favorites! I think I saw that same article about the girl who gets gifts from crows. I've also read that sometimes their gifts are dead rodents! But I have plans for befriending the crows...Thank you for reading and voting! There are so many wonderful birds (and critters) on Elmira Pond.

  2. March Madness was just wonderful. I liked all the clicks but had to vote for only one :(

    March around my town is very dry...we are in need for rains, thus will face rationing of water this summer.

    Always a pleasure to have you on board. Thanks Charli

    1. I've heard that California is so dry. I didn't know about the rationing. It's one reason why some migratory birds are coming through early. I hope you get rain! Yes, I'd be wanting to vote for more than one! :-) Thanks, Ruchira!

  3. I adore all your wildlife posts but Bootsy and a Robin? A no-brainer for me Charli, I've voted for Team Cat & Crew :-) What fun March Madness has been, but I must have missed the Cat & Crew post until now, so glad you posted it again here. I've realised that I was once closer to you than I realised. We visited Hermiston, Oregon a couple of times. I remember it being very close to the Idaho border...
    My back yard has to date: a pair of blackbirds who enjoy the fatballs at the feeder unusually as they normally prefer worms on the ground; a pair of Great Tits - yep! - , the odd Sparrow, Starling and even for a few days a Mistle Thrush. Pegeons come and go but they create havoc in the garden. I also had a tiny little Wren, but I found it dead lying on a hedge with a broken neck...oh the cruelty of nature :-( And of course, there is my Sweet Robin, still enjoying the bench :-) Look forward to seeing who wins!

  4. An easy choice for you as cat and crew seemed so familiar! I am laughing so hard! More Men might be persuaded to bird watch with what you have in your back yard! A few I will have to look up! Ah, yes, it's not ready to survive being a bird. Thanks for sharing your yard too!

  5. Yeah, what's with the one only choice thingy Charli. That's just dang cruel. Still if it has to be, it has to be Swans. No more graceful swimmer and no more ridiculous mode of landing, all addlepated webbed footling and arse-dragging. And the best avian analogy around - the swan is like royalty - all grace and serenity on the surface but peddling like fuck to stay afloat - something like that anyway!

    1. A cruel April Fools joke, perhaps? I guess I thought people might have favorites the way they do with basketball teams! Some crazy person is now stalking my twitter because of "March Madness." I'm almost intimidated to tell him I'm into birds, not basketball. :-) Glad to know birders are more broad in their love for all kinds

    2. And I'm dying with laughter over your royal swan analogy! Makes me wish we had royalty over here. Otherwise we just have the frantic paddling of politicians without the serenity and grace!