Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Worst Fishing Article of all Time

This month's issue (March) of New England Game and Fish has article about the "Best March Fishing in the New England States" There is a little write up about each state. It is suggested in New Hampshire to ice fish Lake Winni. Vermont has Champlain and Mass the Deerfield River.

Well, well, well, the writer wrote that the best March fishing in Rhode Island (page 24) is (drumroll, please)

Striper Fishing from Watch Hill and Misquamicut Beach

That's right in Rhode Island, the author Steven Carpenteri, says the best March fishing is from the  beach and lighthouse for striped bass. This three paragraph write up had misinformation and lies in almost every single sentence. First off, there aren't stripers along the oceanfront in March. Secondly, no one is fishing for them. When guys do fish for fresh stripers it is at the West Wall and some backwaters. I assure you, if you go striper fishing in March at Watch Hill, you will have the place to yourself AND you won't catch stripers.

The article goes on to read that fisherman should concentrate on fishing mornings and evenings because of sunbathers, tourists, and non-fishermen being in the way. In March? Have you ever gone to any beach in March no matter how nice the weather and had to contend with so many sunbathers that it was uncomfortable to walk never mind fish? Correct me if I am wrong, but sunbathers are not a problem in March at Rhode Island beaches.

The article goes on to explain that most of the fish will be schoolies but persistent fishermen should hook into bigger fish. First off, there aren't any fish there. Secondly, the first fish to show which happens in April are tiny. Most are under fifteen inches. A good one is twenty inches. To think you are going to hook into keeper stripers is a delusion of grandeur. There are some holdover fish in the backwaters that are above keeper size. If the article said that, I'd be okay with it, but they did not.

I have never seen such an untrue article in my life. I wrote the editors of New England Game and Fish a three page letter detailing all of the faults in the article. I signed my name and gave them my email address. I told them I stand by everything I wrote. I also gave them the names of five Rhode Island tackle shops. If they want to fact check all they have to do is call anyone of them and ask about the " terrific March striper fishing in  Rhode Island". I told them it was so bad they owed their readers an apology in the next issue. I don't know if it will do any good, but I feel better knowing I sent it.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Another Winter Day off, Another Winter Day Birding

Ruddy Turnstone at Third Beach
As the title says, I went birding again yesterday. I looked forward to it all week. It is interesting how sometimes I am really into birding and other years I am not. I think part of it is it has been fairly warm and going birding is an excuse to be in the woods or on the beach with goals.

Being in the woods yesterday was fun. I hit the East Bay side of Rhode Island. I concentrated on the towns of  Portsmouth, Tiverton, and Middletown. I also made a trip to Little Compton. I only saw about 35 species ( list is in the car as I write this). I saw five new species for the year. I had hoped for seven based on where I was going. However, I did see a Carolina Wren which was a very good unexpected bird.
Please lift your head for a better picture

Some of the birds I hoped to see I had absolutely no chance of seeing. Although the woods was fun, the ocean was socked in with fog. I couldn't see 30 yards. I drove to Sachuest. When I got there, I could barely make out the cars at the other end of the parking lot. I hoped to see White Winged Scooters and Red Throated Loons but they will have to wait for another day.

By far my highlight of the day wasn't a bird. It was a coyote. I saw it in a field in Middletown. When it saw me it ran down the street I got a a couple shots of it as it was making its way to safety.

Not the greatest day birding. I still had fun. I walked in the woods and saw a gorgeous coyote. Not a bad way to enjoy a day before a long night of watching Olympic coverage



Friday, February 9, 2018

Winter Big Day- A Good Day Birding

Today was the first day this year I spent the whole day birding. I keep track of my Rhode Island list on a website with other birders. since I barely had done any birding this year, I was in dead last on the list. The list is a way to keep track, it is not a competition. Still being in last place is embarrassing. I planned on leaving at sunrise. However, watching the Olympics until almost 11:30 meant I needed a couple hours more sleep.

At first, my day didn't start out very good. I had three target species ( Red Breasted Nuthatch, Yellow Rump, Red Headed  Woodpecker) at my first two stops ( Burlingame Campground, East Beach).  I barely saw a bird at those two spots nevermind my targets.

Things got better from there. I went to Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge. I took the walk to Grassy Point. I saw the Lesser Black Backed Gull that seems to winter there every year. I also saw some Horned Grebes and a Great Blue Heron.

Iceland Gull
I'm not going to bore you with every bird I saw today. I ended up seeing 54 species.  The highlights were

 Lesser Black Gull
Iceland Gull @Beavertail
Black Headed Gull @Scarborough Beach
 Trustom Pond- Pintail, Redheads, Lesser Scaup,  Gadwall, American Widgeon
Bluebird @ Fort Ninigret

My best experience was at Charlestown Breachway. I heard last week there was a Long Tailed Duck in the breachway. Some great pictures were taken. The only LT Ducks I've seen in Rhode Island were last week a quarter mile off of Beavertail.  I hoped it was still there. They are so pretty and I really wanted a frame filling picture. Happily there was a pair just chilling in the current. I stayed and watched them for a half hour. Also in the breachway were a few loons. One of them seemed to have no fear of me. It came pretty close to the rock I was sitting on. It was probably the closest I've been to a loon.
Long Tailed Duck

Another cool experience was the Iceland Gull at Beavertail. I knew it was there. The problem was, to me gulls just look the same. I did look up a picture of it someone took a few days ago. One thing I read, the wings are white. There isn't any black on the wing tips. Some people were throwing food out of their car. The gulls were fighting for the food. It was easy to find the Iceland as it was flying toward the scraps. It is smaller than the typical Herring and Ring Billed Gulls. It didn't get any food, but because the people were throwing out food, I got some close up pictures.

All in all, I had a really good day. Seeing 54 species was more than expected.  I got some good birds. Of course your always going to miss some easy birds. For instance, I didn't see any blue jays today.  That is one of the fun things about birding. You never know what you are going to see.

A couple more photos below

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Top 21 Reasons Watching the Olympics is better than Watching the Super Bowl (and a few reasons they are not)

After a Patriots Super Bowl loss I feel like crap. My stomach has been in knots for almost four hours. I usually ate junk food. I can't sleep wondering what happened. Luckily, we have the Olympics to start watching starting tomorrow. I realized the other day the Olympics are great competition and sport. Yet I don't get sick to my stomach watching them. While driving I started thinking of reasons why the Olympics are better than the Super Bowl. Most of these are "tongue and cheek" but a couple like #19, 14, and staying awake until 3 am are very real

21. Unlike the Super Bowl, I won't have to wait two weeks between events.  I'll have 18 straight nights of competition

20. I've never had to listen to Joe Buck call an Olympic event or worse, listen to Phil Simms analyze one

19. I won't have to sit there for four hours wondering why the hell Malcom Butler isn't playing

18. No matter what happens, I could never be as mad at any participant as I am at Bill Belichick right now

17. Six words-  What will Johnny Weir say next?

16. Tara Lipinski is unbelievably hot!

15. I won't be disappointed by a halftime show.

14. When the Patriots are in the Super Bowl, I watch it with a stomach ulcer. Since all their Super Bowls are close, I've gone through this pain 8 times since 2000

13. I won't have to wonder if Arthur Blank is the nice guy that I hear he is, or the creepy looking old fool my eyes tell me he is.

12. Lindsey Vonn  is a role model

11. I have something to look forward to every night for two and a half weeks

10. Olympic hockey is awesome

9. People proudly stand for the National Anthem

8. Tara Lipinski (see #16)

7. I won't toss and turn until 3 am because anyone lost

6. What is considered a catch anymore?

5. I won't have to get mad at Bradley Cooper for cheering on his team

4. No US cities will burn down in celebration

3. Erin Andrews doesn't work for NBC so I won't have to watch her read questions off of cue cards.

2. Biathlon- Guns and Skis, crazy, right?

1. I can use the bathroom during commercials instead of "holding it"

7 Bad things about the Olympics

7. Too many commercials

6. Bob Costas is no longer the host of the Olympics

5. The top US Ice Dance team are a brother/sister pair. I don't care what anyone says, touching your sister that much is just weird

4. NBC hired Mike Tirico. He will be the Primetime host. Mike seems like a good guy. He is intelligent and knowledgeable.  However, his monotone voice has the same affect as Jewel singing me a lullaby near a babbling brook. It puts me to sleep.

3. Mike Tirico's voice- where adrenaline goes to die

2. Fluff stories taking up time I could be watching events

The number 1 worst thing about the Olympics:

I know what the phrase ShibSibs means. Not something I'm proud of!

Friday, February 2, 2018

A Great Day Outside (to see a Snowy Owl)

My friend Dick Durand was on a mission to see a Snowy Owl this year. He had never seen one. I offered to take him to a place in Rhode Island where one has been regularly seen this winter. I had Thursday and Friday off from work this week. We planned on going Thursday because the weather forecast was far better for Thursday than Friday. I picked Dick up late enough to go through Providence after rush hour.

What was a decent forecast turned into a fine winter day. The wind was from the southwest bringing in 45 degree air. For half of our walk the land protected us from the ocean breeze. Even when walking into it, the temperature was very pleasant. We couldn't have expected a nicer day.

We went to a place where a Snowy has been wintering offshore on a rock. Unfortunately it wasn't there. We stuck it out for twenty minutes. finally we decided to go for a hike. As we were walking around a huge field a couple pointed out a snowy about 60 feet away in the field. We admired it for 30 minutes from the path.  It was not bothered by our presence at all. It would look our way, then look in other directions also.  In the binoculars and scope we cold see every feather of the beautiful bird. Even with just our eyes, we were close enough to have good looks.

A Word about Owls-

Of all the birds in the Northeast, owls can easily be stressed out by humans getting too close. They try to conserve energy so they allow humans (mostly photographers) to get too close to them. Even though they are not flying they get stressed out. Their heart rate and body temp go up like ours does when afraid. This burns precious calories they are trying to conserve.  Eventually the human gets too close and the owl will fly. Again, burning too many calories. This can and has lead to dead owls. A Snowy Owl died this winter in Rhode Island because people were harassing it trying to get the perfect picture.

Because owls are so easily stressed I did not try to get the perfect picture of the owl. We stayed on the trail. I'm sure I could have gotten to within 25 feet and gotten a frame filling photo. Once the owl flew I could have gotten more photos of it flying. However it is not worth it when it is at the expense of the subject. This is the reason I did not wrote the location of the owl. Too many people look for the perfect picture. Trust me, I want it also. However, when it comes to owls, it is best to check your ego in the parking lot for their sake.

After we watched the owl, we started walking down the trail. In  five steps Dick noticed two deer right next to us. One was an adult female, the other a yearling. They were practically within arm's length of us casually munching on twigs. I got some pictures of the larger female.

I told Dick if we didn't see any Snowy Owls a nice consolation prize are the Harlequin Ducks that winter on the coast. Dick enjoys nature but isn't a birder. I wasn't going to bore him with every species we saw, but the Harlequins beauty does rival a Wood Duck. We found a few five minutes before we saw the owl. 

After we got back to the car we went to Becky's BBQ in Middletown for lunch. The food was delicious and we met a surf fisherman and had a good conversation with him.

All in all it was a great day to be outside. I'm glad Dick got to see his Snowy Owl. In my years of birding, I never had such a great look at any owl. We watched it without disturbing it for as long as we wanted. Then to have the deer photoshoot within feet of us was icing on the cake.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Just getting through the Big Suck

Thanks for the January highlight, Georgia
I haven't wrote much lately simply because there wasn't been much to write about.  I always tell people that January is a big pile of suck.A quick summary of the few things I did below

 This month hasn't been much different. I did get out ice fishing one time. My first fish of the year was a sixteen inch Rainbow.  The ice was probably safe a couple other days I had free time but didn't feel comfortable venturing out on it after getting two inches of 50 degree rain.

The one thing that breaks up cabin fever are the outdoor shows. I went to the fly fishing show in Marlboro a couple weeks ago and the Boxboro show over the weekend. I didn't do a "write up" because they are basically the same every year.  Coming up are the Springfield Show which I am going to and the RISA show which I will only go to if the weather sucks.

Like everyone else, I'm pumped about the Super Bowl. I have realized that the forty year old Patriots quarterback is a demigod. I spent most of last Monday at work trying to convince employees that he is really an illegitimate son of Zeus and a hero along the lines of Hercules and Perseus. 

More than most, I am looking forward to the Olympics. Laurie will be over every night and we will watch Primetime. As I've pointed out, she knows as much about figure skating as stat geek fantasy baseball owners know about their sport. So, I will be watching and understanding figure skating far more than any straight man should.

As for the month we just had, the highlight was by far the Peabody Essex Museum (and Kelly's Roast Beef). I went to the two fishing shows and three movies. The movies were  "The Darkest Hour" "The Greatest Showman" and "I, Tonya". All three were average movies. Nothing worth paying movie theater prices for, but all worthy of a Redbox selection.  Gary Oldman was awesome as Churchill in "The Darkest Hour"

The only other thing I really did was go to Moonstone Beach with Laurie on Sunday. The plan was for her to collect pretty rocks while I birded. This ended up working out way better for her than me. She got a bucket full of rocks. Meanwhile, I got fifty feet of grey air. The whole area was socked in with fog. I did manage to see a lifebird which is amazing considering I only saw six species (and three of those were swan, Canada geese, and mallards). The lifer was an American Bittern that I accidentally flushed while walking through some reeds. So go figure.

Looking ahead, I think the rest of the winter will be more fun. I've got 18 days of Olympics to look forward to. By the time they are over it will still be light out until almost 6 pm.  I've got tickets to a couple concerts and plays for Feb/March that I am looking forward to. My days off are going to be spent birding for the next month or so if the weather is good those days. Thursday, I am probably going to my favorite winter destination, Sachuest NWR. All in all, we made it through January, that in itself is a good thing (unless of course you are skiing five to six days a week then January wasn't so bad after all...Dave)