Slow start


It was a little late when I got out of work, so I decided to hit a roost site that was a little quicker to get into.  The last time I visited this particular site was April first (two weeks ago) & I was lucky enough to capture some really good hen talk on camera!  So I had high hopes for this morning's outing.  I got in there good & early without any problems.  I could see at least three turkeys in that same big white oak & a few more that were roosted maybe thirty yards beyond them.  I snuck to within 15 yards of the closest three & got my camera gear ready.  It was 5:55 (15 minutes before it started to break daylight) when I heard the first sounds which were tiny, little clucks.  Then it got quiet for a little while.  The only sounds were the distant hum of a nearby highway & the rushing of water from recent rains in a small drainage.  I dozed off for a while, but was awakened by a soft tree yelp at 6:16!  I actually forgot that I was already recording & almost hit the button again, which would have stopped recording.  A couple minutes later, a gobbler sounded off maybe 80 yards away!  A few more minutes went by, then some geese honked as they flew past, which elicited a shock gobble from at least two gobblers.  Then some more tree yelps from a hen & the gobblers began to fire up!  I could see one of the gobblers strutting on the limb in front of me about forty-five yards!  It was still fairly dark, but I could tell he definitely had a full fan.  The ocassional honking of canada geese was met with more gobbling.  But there was very little hen talk up to that point.  Once I had enough camera light, I zoomed in on the two closest birds & hoped they were hens.  They were both still sitting on the limb & preening themselves.  Then one of the other hens began yelping a little!  She sounded like a younger hen with her higher pitch, but she sure sounded pretty!  It wasn't long & I could see that strutter in front of me starting to get antsy.  Every time one of those other gobblers would sound off, he'd throw his head up (snood raised) & look their direction.  Then he'd strut & begin looking down towards the ground.  Finally, I heard wingbeats & one hen in particular really started to get excited!  She began a long string of yelps & went right into a cackle.  This prompted another beautiful fly-down cackle from one of the other hens!  Several more birds pithced down right over top of me landing within a few yards right behind me!  Then one of the hens I was zoomed in on switched limbs & started yelping.  She pitched out, giving a two-note yelp as she pushed off the limb.  Then the other hen began yelping a little & followed.  Once they were on the ground, they were very quiet.  They slowly moved away from me into a cow pasture & out of sight.  I gave them some time to put some distance between us & snuck out through the drainage to avoid bumping them.  It was kind of a slow morning, but I wouldn't have rather been anywhere else!        


Sunrise:  6:40 a.m.


Temperature:  45 degrees (cloudy to partly cloudy)


Wind:  calm


Barometer:  30.25 & rising


Location:  Southwest Pennsylvania


# of gobbles heard:  35





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