Sometimes on the trail I flush a ground bird—woodcocks, usually, probing the wet spots for worms, which burst startlingly away on whistling wings. Occasionally I’ll surprise a ruffed grouse, though they rarely let me close, or a flock of wild turkeys, which cluck off into the brush or fly into the branches of trees. This morning, coming around a curve on my return down the upper wooded trail, I came upon a big turkey hen and her brood of two or three chicks. The mama’s wings flew out, making her seem enormous, and she clucked out her alarm, as the two chicks that I could see scrambled for cover. The hen and one chick vanished into the thick growth down the slope, but the other chick—after dashing around aimlessly for a few seconds (during which I snapped the blurry photo on this page)—headed for some tall grass at the base of a tiny trailside tree. I knelt down and saw it’s but between the grass blades; I could’ve reached in and plucked it out.
Instead, I stepped several yards away down the trail and waited, hoping for a better photo. The turkey hen clucked softly from off the trail, letting the chicks get their bearings. After about thirty or forty-five seconds, both chicks began to peep loudly. The hen clucked, the chicks peeped. Then the little guy in the grass suddenly hurried across the trail in the direction of its mom, too quickly even for me to focus.
Fog along the coast, hazy sun on the hill. Walked the wooded trail, 6:30–8 a.m.
Black-throated green warbler
Double-crested cormorant (overflight)
Common loon (voice on the wind)
Black-throated blue warbler