Newspaper Archive of
Quoddy Tides
Eastport, Maine
March 27, 2009     Quoddy Tides
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March 27, 2009

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Page 32 THE QUODDY TIDES 27 March, 2009 Spring by Fred Gralenski pine siskins, goldfinches and redpolls, as It's spring. The calendar says we have these birds have pretty delicate beaks and passed the vernal equinox, and my ravens have trouble handling the tougher sun- are busy working and frequently fly by flower. Chickadees can handle the sun- carrying some branches and stuff to add flower seed because they have learned to to their nest. I've tried to coax them into hold it with their feet on a branch and taking some offerings of meat scraps and peck at it. Thistle seed has a high energy pieces of hot dogs, but they're still being content like black oil sunflower. coy and remain hidden in the woods The preferred name for thistle seed is croaking to each other. "nyjer." The birdseed PR people wanted Route 1 between Pembroke and to distinguish the seed from the native Machi/ts has aged greatly with the winter, thistle, which is a pest, so they settled on and the wrinkles are very noticeable. The "nyjer" as the common name for G. mourning doves are cooing with the an- abysinnica. I don't think the birds care. ticipation of romance, the woodpeckers The reason nyjer seed is so expensive is are drumming, and the male juncos are that the imported shipments are heat ster- trying to look impressive by lowering their ilized to prevent germination. A fertile wings and raising their tail. There are nyjer seed may sprout, but this is a very flocks of guy robins and red-winged rare occurrence. Nyjer apparently doesn't blackbirds along Leighton Point Road grow well anywhere in the continental here in South Pembroke, and my onions U.S., but if it does sprout and you get an have sprouted near my wood furnace unusual yellow flower growing in the down cellar, but my garden area is still nyjer husk pile, remove it and destroy the under two feet of snow. remote possibility of it becoming an One of the places where the snow has invasive species. The USDA website lists melted off is under our bird feeders, as G. abysinnica as appearing in the mid- there is a spread of black oil sunflower Atlantic states and California and Ontario and thistle seed husks. "Hey you guys," I but does not mention it as a serious pest. complain to the siskins, "don't waste that A side issue with feeding the birds or stuff! It's expensive!" Siskins are like kids any other critter is responsibility. Remem- when I ask them to behave. I wanted to ber that feeding any type of wild animal get an idea how much of my thistle seed usually causes them to have a high popu- these wretches were wasting, so I took a lation density at or around the feeding site. handful from underneath the thistle feeder, This concentration tends to quickly spread brought it inside, dried it out and proceeded any diseases throughout the group. Keep to count (with my jeweler's loupe)the num- your area clean, and at the slightest indi- ber of full seeds versus the husks. I got cation of any strange acting or sick birds pretty bored with the task in short order, as take in your feeders, wash them with a solu- there were several hundred entities in that tion of bleach, clean up the area and don't handful, but I was a little surprised that put the feeders out for at least a week. what I did count indicated that the birds toss But it' s spring. In less than a month I out only about five percent of good seeds, will be leading amphibian walks down What are these seeds anyway, and why Leighton Point Road. Enjoy the sun's do a lot of my birds like them? Thistle added warmth, be careful when you seed, Guizotia abysinnica, is a native plant squash the cluster flies when they land on of Ethiopia and is a member of the aster the screen of your computer and shoo the family and related to the sunflower. It is ladybugs outdoors from your windows. grown in Africa and India. It is used for Go outside and find some pussy willows food in India as a spice in some types of and notice the wildlife and play in the curry and as a dry chutney with bread, but mud and pretend you are a civil engineer apparently it is grown mostly for export as by draining the puddles. You might even birdseed. Thistle seed is definitely pre- find some green grass coming up through ferred over black oil sunflower seed by the pile of thistle oops, nyjer seed husks. T & G Cedar paneling available now. Call for pickup or delivery. Pembroke Lumber Company (207) 853-4419 514 eased edge cedar decking 4 x 4 cedar posts 2x4, 2x6 and 2x8 cedar Cedar shiplap Building a camp? Try our 5" x 5" natural round Log Cabin material. Call to receive a quote. Raised garden bed material Custom sawing "Tro [ spo ol Done The Wright wou" 10 ctbic- :jord [ mF ters I0, 20, 30, 50 ct ic ord Rollc Containers Avoiloble Offerir curbside pickup in PI SVqDD. Coil 1-800-899-4446 or 483-4444 P.O. Box 211 Columbia for Details. Waiting for ice-out by Ed Bartlett fished on a shorter rod. April 1 is the opening day of the fishing One of the other chores that needs to be season, providing you can find some natu- taken care of is making sure the hooks are rally open water. In most years, this is sharp. Even new hooks should have a hon- truly the biggest April fool's joke played ing tool run over them to make sure they on the fishing crowd one can imagine, have a sharp, penetrating point. Swivels The law book says go ahead, go fish- of several sizes and snap swivels are a ing, but Mother Nature thumbs her nose at necessary part of trolling equipment to you and says hold your horses. Even in prevent twisted lines. A container of dif- the southern part of the state the lakes are ferent sizes of split-shot or sinkers comes still ice bound and according to reports in handy when a slight change of depth is will still have a hard winter cover for two desired. more weeks. The father north you live, the Several spools of leader material from longer the wait. Ice-out in Maine extends 4-pound to 12-pound test will be useful from about the first week in April in the during the season. A good pair of fish southern part of the state until the second pliers for removing hooks from the fish's week in May in the far north. Generally, mouth is necessary when the fish is to be by that time, all lakes are ice free. released, and a piece of steel wool to pal- Now is the time to be going through the ish tarnished spoons comes in handy. tackle box to see all is in order. It is amaz- Also, it's a good idea to carry a piece of ing how many items have to be replaced soap to wash your hands after working from year to year, and, of course, a lot of around the motor. I'm sure fish smell new items are available. Who can refuse to gasoline as readily as we do. A map of the try some of the new "killers" that, accord- body of water you are fishing comes in ing to the ads, are so deadly they have been mighty handy, particularly if the water outlawed in some states. (The expression, depths are shown. Each fisherman carries "There's a sucker born every minute," was his own special tools and articles he finds surely written about fishermen.) useful. Each fisherman has his own method of Waiting for ice-out can seem an eter- fishing, which he considers more produc- nity. In truth, however, it doesn't make tive than all others. It's rare indeed to find much difference how long and how cold two fishermen who have faith in the same the winter has been. Lakes and ponds have lure and fish it the same way. They may a tendency to go out at about the same use the same type of lure, but it may be time each year, give or take a few days. larger or smaller, have a different color or Mother Nature's tools came into play to they may like to fish it at a different depth, bring this about. The warmer sun's rays, All these things are important to being fog, rain and most of all the wind will successful. Early fishing requires experi- clear the frozen bodies of water in the mentation to determine at what depth wink of an eye. Where only the day be- salmon, trout and togue are to be found, fore the rotting grayish-black ice was in It is imperative for two fishermen in a view, this will be replaced by the beautiful boat to fish basically the same way, either blue water that becomes the playground for up or down. While it is true two fishermen all who wish to swim, canoe, sail or fish. who desire to fish deep may also fish a top It's a great feeling to go on your favor- water line, the speed of the boat has to be ite lake or pond for the first time. In your regulated so the deeper lures are fished haste to go fishing, don't -forget to put slowly, your tackle box or favorite rod aboard. In The top water line can be speeded up fact, it' s a great idea to have a check list to by manipulating that line so it travels at a follow to make sure you'll have every- top water speed the salmon like. Also, thing you will need. Finally, make sure fishing deep usually calls for fishing far- you put the plug in before you launch ther from shore than the top water fisher- your boat. Forgetting gear and forgetting man likes, particularly early in the spring, to put the plug in has happened to more Salmon and trout quite frequently are fishermen than care to admit it. I can tell found very close to shore and like the lure you from experience that water is surely travelling at a rapid pace. So, as stated cold this time of year. earlier, both have to agree to the manner in which they plan to fish. If that way isn't successful, a'change in tactics isin order. Timber harvesti During the waiting period, the rod has begins at refuge to be checked to be sure the ferrules and guides are in good order. A loose ferrule may have to be replaced, or a coating of wax on the male ferrule may do the trick temporarily. The guides have to be checked to see that they are not worn, and the tiptop has to be free of any grooves from wear during previous years. Faulty guides can cut the line, particularly monofilament. A good stiff rod of about nine feet is great for trolling either sewed- on bait or streamer flies. That length also has a tendency to keep the lines farther apart so they don't become entangled. The short line fished behind the motor may be Quilt5 - Folk Art Doll3 - Reil i Refuge Manager Bill Kolodnicki has announced that timber harvest operations are under way at the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge in Calais. Visitors are re- quested to use caution when walking, ski- ing or snowmobiling in the vicinity of wood cutting operations. Timber harvest- ers will be working along the Ice House Road and the Magurrewock Road over the next month. The small clearcuts that will be created this winter provide future habitat for wild- life that require young forests for feeding, nesting and rearing their young. Habitat for this suite of wildlife species often is short-lived, requiring active management to be maintained across the landscape. For more information contact refuge 416 Gin Cove Road (right behind Loring's Auto Body Shop) ViSitors - welc, omecl Hour~ by appointment or by c.honc~e. 5t~on Des~Jn5 in Perry, loine ~07-853-t1315 wildlife bi010gi t AMy Welk or Maurry Mills at 207-454-7161, Additional infor- marion on managing habitat for American woodcock and other wildlife is available during normal business hours at the ref- uge headquarters in Baring, and on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website .