More critters and kooks on the Chaffey’s Locks Road

June 14, 2012

In an earlier post I mentioned an intrepid woodchuck who had built a den on the edge of the Chaffey’s Locks Road. No doubt the chuck thought it would be a good location, now that the speed limit on this stretch has been reduced to 60 km/hr. But the maintenance crew has trumped him with a few shovelfuls of asphalt. When I drove by today there was a neat, round hole there, filled to the brim with cold mix asphalt. Take that, you wascally woodchuck!

Every time I have driven on that road recently I have come upon cars stopped on the driving lane. Last trip it was a pair of cars loaded with birdwatchers who had abandoned their vehicles in haste. This time it was some chick in a VW who stopped immediately on a corner to answer a cell phone call. That cell phone law may end up killing somebody if people unfamiliar with roads without shoulders don’t learn to bend the rules and find a safe place before stopping.

On the Clear Lake Road I stopped (in the driving lane, but I put my flashers on) to watch a ruffed grouse which was standing in the middle of the pavement. I shut off to watch. She didn’t seem inclined to leave. Soon a chick burst out of the vegetation and raced across the road. Then another, and so on until five had made the frantic sprint. Then came a straggler who stopped to peck a bit of gravel on the narrow shoulder, then sauntered away from cover, only to panic and dash for safety on the other side. I waited in case there were others. At length a much larger chick emerged, about half grown, and dashed across to join the flock.

Could the older chick be from an earlier nesting of the mother? Do grouse adopt plus-sized orphans? It was definitely a ruffed grouse, though advanced enough in age to have a visible black comb.


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