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A long time ago, I was a child. (I started out as Cathy First from Colon, Mi.) For the past several years I’ve been an adult. A lot of things went on between those two stages of life; probably no more or no less than anyone elses. My husband and I moved to “da U .P” from southern Lower Michigan several years ago (yes we were trolls at one time). We owned and operated and operate Clementz’s Northcountry Campground and Cabins just north of Newberry, Michigan until May 2015. We have grown kids and grandkids (who all live downstate). My passion is life and all that Nature has to offer us and trying to photograph it in unique ways. Our intention in life is to see all that Nature has to offer us. We hope that you will be a part of our adventures as we cruise through our lives together. Come back often!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

THE QUEST FOR THE YELLOW RAIL (OR IS IT YELLOW TAILED RAIL?)

I haven’t taken the time yet to look up info on this mysterious, little night time bird.

You may recall that I wrote a bit about the bird a couple days ago due to the fact that one of our camping guests from Hilton Head, S.C was heading out with a group, at night, in the dark to see this bird.

I finally had the opportunity to speak with him yesterday about the adventure, but before that I had the opportunity to speak with his daughter who thought her parents were MIA.

First, what a good daughter to call all the way from S. Carolina because she was concerned about her parents. She had found their itinerary and tracked them down here. I assured her that they had arrived safely and had even gotten back from the bird hunt. I was still thinking to myself that this hunt was a snipe hunt…has any one ever taken you on a snipe hunt (AKA wild goose chase)? If you are unfamiliar with that event, here is all you need to know;

A snipe hunt, a form of wild goose chase that is also known as a fool's errand, is a type of practical joke that involves experienced people making fun of newcomers by giving them an impossible or imaginary task. The origin of the term is a practical joke where inexperienced campers are told about a bird or animal called the snipe as well as a usually ridiculous method of catching it, such as running around the woods carrying a bag or making strange noises. Incidentally, the snipe (a family of shorebirds) is difficult to catch for experienced hunters, so much so that the word "sniper" is derived from it to refer to anyone skilled enough to shoot one.[1]

In the most popular version of the snipe hunt, especially in the American South, a newcomer is taken deep into the woods late at night and told to make a clucking noise while holding a large sack. The others, who are in on the joke, say that after they sneak away they will walk back towards the newcomer, thereby driving snipes towards the bag holder. The frightened snipes, they say will be attracted to the clucking noise and easily caught in the bag. The newcomer is then simply left in the dark forest, eventually to realize his gullibility and find his way home or back to camp.

A wild goose chase can also be more serious, either a deliberate attempt to thwart an opponent by sending him/her off on a quest based on misinformation, or a mistake on one's own part leading to a hopeless quest. [2]

I told the daughter we would give her parents the message.

The Dad stopped by the office a while later and said “I hear my daughter has been in touch.” Apparently she had left several voice mails on their cell phone which they did finally check. Let me explain that one too…it isn’t that the parents were ignoring friends and family, but it is a problem of getting a signal in our neck of the woods. When our guests ask about cell phone signal, I respond by saying “You know the commercial, CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? Well, that was originally filmed HERE!” Truthfully it wasn’t but it explains a lot when you put it that way.

I had the opportunity to ask about the bird hunt that went from 9 p.m. to midnight through bug infested areas of Seney Wildlife Refuge. He said they got some excellent shots (AKA pictures, not killing shots). I couldn’t understand how they could get any photos during that time of the “day”. He explained that there are several MSU students working at Seney from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. seeking out these little birds and banding them. So THAT is how they got to see the birds and get photos…as the little guys were being captured and banded!

It is kind of embarrassing when you have people that come all the way from S. Carolina to go hunt birds in your “back yard” that YOU didn’t even know existed!

And by the way, he said the bugs weren’t bad at all!

5 comments:

  1. Anonymous11:33 AM

    We have lots of misquitos in the middle northern lower. It is real dry here but a lot of stagnet standing water from all the rain we had about a month ago.

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  2. Anonymous, maybe we'll get lucky this year and the bugs won't be too bad. There have been years that even the 4th of July was terrible with skeeters.

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  3. A snipe hunt, huh? I've never been on a bird hunt but I've sure as heck been on a snipe hunt-- Some days my life feels like one long snipe hunt :-)

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  4. Joanna, oh, yes, I was even tricked into a snipe hunt as a "kid"...by my Grandpa!

    Do you mean you feel like you are beating the bushes with a stick and making weird noises? We need to assist you!!

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  5. That was really interesting about those bird hunters...I had no idea, either!

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