Hang on tight!
After checking the weather this morning, I decided to visit the same roost site that I did yesterday. There was a 25% chance of rain at 6 a.m. but it dropped to 0% after that. It wasn't raining at the time so I figured I'd give it a shot. It was a 42 degrees & a little windy when I left the truck, but not too bad. It rained on & off through the night, so I was able to move a little quicker than normal. When I reached the ridgetop, I checked the roost trees from a distance with my binoculars & couldn't see any birds. So I eased in a little farther & checked again...nothing! I looked all around thinking they might be in different trees...still nothing! But it was pretty cloudy & dark which made it difficult to see them. So I moved in closer...finally, I could see maybe 5 or 6 birds! When I got within 30-40 yards of one of them, it stood up & strutted! I could tell it was a longbeard. There was at least 3 other birds about 20 yards past him & I figured one of them might be a hen, so I got closer to them. I decided to set up at the base of a large blow down about 10 yards from the closest turkey! As I got my camera gear ready, the wind really picked up & it started to rain! I was stuck there now. I wasn't leaving. I hurried & got my camera covered to keep it somewhat dry. Luckily, the rain let up. But the wind didn't let up! I adjusted my microphone's settings by turning on the wind filter & got settled in. The treetops were swaying in the stiff wind & I wondered how in the world a turkey could even hang on! I didn't think they would talk much this morning in these conditions...& I was right. As daylight approached, it seemed like the wind picked up even more! I could see 6 turkeys swaying in the treetops. A lot fewer in number than yesterday. A jake yelped a few times & then let out a half gobble as it began to break daylight. The wind made it feel a lot colder than it actually was, that's for sure. Then, I thought I heard an older hen tree yelp real soft. I wasn't sure which turkey it was though. Eventually I had just enough camera light to single out a turkey & zoom in on it. Right away, I could see it was a jake. Again, I thought I heard an older hen yelp, so I panned the camera to one of the other birds & I could tell it was a jake as well! The wind would gust & those turkeys looked like they were in a high-wire act at a circus! Their tails act as a counter weight to help them balance. When it's that windy, they appear to be a seesaw on a limb! Anyways, I picked out another bird, zoomed in on it & noticed it was a jake too. I would swear I heard a hen! I was definitely fooled by the yelping of the one jake. It sounded like a hen! But from what I could tell, they were all jakes except the one longbeard. If I would have known that, I would have set up where I had a better camera angle on the longbeard. They would yelp & gobble a little, then get blown around for a while. Then the longbeard started yelping & pretty soon, the jake I was zoomed in on pitched down. It wasn't long & they all followed suit. The jakes chased each other around once they were on the ground & eventually ganged up on the longbeard! They headed up past me towards a pasture & out of sight. I think this flock has started to break up. That's three times now in the past week that I've visited this particular roost site that there's been a lot less birds (no hens twice)!
Sunrise: 6:57 a.m.
Temperature: 42 degrees @ 4:30 - dropped to 35 degrees by 7:30
Wind: VERY windy!
Barometer: 28.63 & rising
Location: Southwest Pennsylvania
# of gobbles heard: 11