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About mikez2

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  1. Fwk! Such a good post lost so a best buy ad could run. I friggin give up
  2. I agree they don't seem to last anymore. I agree with others that red tail hawks and coyotes take many and both are far more abundant than even 40 years ago. Also as we discussed, habitat is disappearing at an alarming rate. But also as many of us observed, they did last once upon a time. Like maybe decades. Some as holdovers, some actually successful breeders. When you think of how many random gun clubs dumping god knows what, god knows where for 75 years, ON TOP of the millions the state dumped, the numbers are overwhelming. That's a chitload of ground nesting, ground feeding, large aggressive alians for grouse to compete with. Hard to imagine it had no impact.
  3. One thing I did like about shad in the Merrimack was in June when they dropped back down. They apparently feed aggressive after spawning and would hit a one oz jig with trailer. I never targeted them specifically but I had several nice ones by accident at the mouth. Always thought I had salmon on.
  4. I never became a proficient shad fisherman in the half dozen tries I made in the Merrimack back in the 80s. I found it frustrating that seemingly so much luck was required. Invariably there would be 3 or 4 guys in the conga line getting double digit hookups while 30 others watched and hoped for just one. I wouldn't mind if it was skill or experience that made the difference but my observations were that it was location. The guys getting a good swing through a very narrow honey hole got the hook ups. If guys traded places, the one in the honey hole drift always hooked up. I don't like to watch. Of course no question a hook up on light tackle is a beautiful thing.
  5. I'm not convinced of them doing no harm to the ecosystem. The population I knew as a kid lived in prime grouse habitat. There were still a few grouse around back then. With both being ground nesting birds sharing limited resources, there was bound to be competition. The large size of pheasant, the large size of their broods and the large size of the chicks can't help but give them an advantage over grouse. I bet the state dumped millions of pheasant into grouse cover over the decades. That had to have had an impact.
  6. Last year a bunch pf people were talking about the large size of the stocked birds. Apparently the state game farms used a different strain which is as much as twice as heavy as previously stocked birds. At the time some, myself included, were wondering if the bigger birds would survive better. The number of pheasant pics turning up in birder groups suggests that might be the case. Will be interesting to see if a new population of feral pheasant can get established by the bigger birds.
  7. I have not seen one. I believe divers in RI hunting for tropical strays have collected several. Like the other true tropical strays like butterflyfish and damsal fish, any lionfish that reaches New England is a helpless egg or larva drifting at random on the Gulf Stream. In a warm summer an early arrival can live a few months and grow to decent size. However, unlike triggers, rudders, jacks etc which are NOT strays, lions would have no way to migrate back to warmer water. They would die in winter like all the strays do. I don't know lionfish temperature limits but I believe global warming would have to be way worse than predicted for them to survive winter in Ma.
  8. Preach it brother, I'm with you all the way. I loved those feral pheasant back in the day and I still love to watch a pointing dog try to corral and sneaking cock pheasant. Still, I'd much rather see wild undeveloped land and native animals.
  9. In the 70s and 80s we had pheasants breeding in an abandoned horse pasture and apple orchard. In summer when the young were almost grown they went about in small flocks, covies more like. I had a ball training my new Brittney spaniel puppy on those bigazz babies. We pointed, flushed, followed, then flushed again until they dispersed in the Fall. Never knew where they came from. Not near any stocked areas and no one hunted anywhere near by. The pasture and apple orchard are trophy homes now. No wild pheasants or anything else.
  10. It's entirely possible that rather than Natural Selection via protection from predators, the advantage of being black comes from Sexual Selection. Perhaps lady squirrels prefer the black ones. Afterall, it's often said, by squirrel researchers; "Once a squirrel goes black, she never comes back."
  11. Beautiful! Funny sad story about ruby crowned kinglets; When I was a kid, I had an old BB gun that was sighted in sharp enough to hunt tweety birds in the brush. I was hell on sparrows and starlings with my ole man's blessing but he had no clue how bloodthirsty I was. Any bird was fair game so long as it wasn't at a feeder. Then one day with a particular tricky shot I brought down a tiny unfamiliar bird. But when I held that beautiful little kinglet in my hand, my pride in the shot was squelched by sadness for killing it. So ended my tweety hunting career.
  12. Squirrel forage on the ground for hours every day. They are most vulnerable on the ground. Cats and hawks rarely get them from trees. Cats and redtail hawks are very numerous predators even in the most developed areas, even big cities. Numerous enough to have a major influence on the squirrels. When foraging squirrels cross open areas they are most vulnerable. In developed areas a huge part of the open area they have to cross is blacktop. It stands to reason that black squirrels are harder to see on blacktop. This would logically lend an advantage to an animal constantly crossing roads, sidewalks and parking lots. It's not my theory and I'm not married to it, but the more I think on it, the better I like it.
  13. I found a black chipmunk years ago in Devens. It ran across the road in front of me and I was shocked. I actually could not tell what kind of animal it was. Looked like some exotic pet. I went back later and actually found it and watched it interact with normal chipmunks which is how I figured out what it was. I failed to get pics. That thing was so cool, I wanted it for a pet. I still keep a careful eye out when I drive by there.
  14. Yah I have had my eye out for a roadkill for 20 years and I used to drive all day in the heart of their local territory. For awhile I dated a woman who got them at her feeder. No way to use the .177 with windows all around, snooping neighbors behind them. I just about had her convinced to let me live trap one when I accidentally admitted why I wanted one. Turned out we didn't agree about skinning animals for decorative purposes. And a bunch of other stuff. I like the blacktop theory. Most of the top predators are visual. Redtail hawks and house cats probably get the most. Black squirrel on black pavement gotta be harder to see.
  15. Apparently the form of melanism in squirrels is called "adaptive" melanism. This means the black color lends advantage to survival, presumably through reduced visibility. It is also a dominant trait which means only one black parent is needed for black offspring. The trait dominance and the survival advantage is the reason they have spread in my lifetime. If my observations that black squirrels are centered in developed areas and rare in the woods is correct, that suggests the advantage conveyed by the black color is related to living around humans. Someday maybe all city squirrels will be black.