Saturday, August 28, 2010

Yard Vermin..... bird feeding gone wrong

This is the first in a series of entries I'm planning to blog, about the more common yard pest vermin, that has plagued my yard and environment, and the people that think they are doing good things by feeding them , and attracting them. This is not so much to critique the people that feed them, but to better educate them.... and present the facts, so that they can maybe (hopefully) make better choices, so we can all enjoy a greater variety of the wildlife, that is constantly around us, while not allowing our property to be contaminated and damaged, by over populations of these pest species. People can possibly get sick and ill from this problem. Just because they haven't yet, doesn't mean it can't happen. For all we could have happened, already(?)
Let's talk about a species, the House Sparrow (or English Sparrow) that is an invasive species here in N. America, and has caused great problems, and devastated native song bird populations. Here in New York, it has greatly reduced the population and former range of our State bird, the Eastern Bluebird. These House Sparrows (or puttz's...called by many NYers) are cavity nesters (like the Bluebirds), but are much more aggressive by nature, and have 3-4 broods of young each season, to the Bluebirds 1, or 2 broods.
When I lived at my former residence on the western NY lake plains, near L. Ontario...the first several years I lived there, I saw no Bluebirds. I did my research and talked to some knowledgable folks, and joined the NY State Bluebird Society. I began building nest boxes, and placing them in pairs, on my property, and on State lands (where I had permission). I also took measures, to guard against the House Sparrows, by trapping them in the boxes, and in large cage traps, on my property.
Within 2 years...I'm pleased to say, that I had nesting Bluebirds, and these areas were no longer dominated by the non native (and unprotected) House Sparrows. There were farms nearby, so this was a constant battle. The invasive Sparrows, flourish on farms, due to the grain feed that supports them, and ample nesting opportunities. The farmer has no time, to deal with this problem...thus, the farm hopping spread of this species marched across the entire continent...from a few pairs that were released in NY City (brought over from England), around the turn of the century. If those well meaning folks...had only realized what they were really doing, and the consequences that would come of it !
To prove something to myself, I leg banded several of the trapped sparrows, and released least 10 miles away from my property. The same year, I spotted one of the individuals again, and eventually re-trapped it. This time, I destroyed it, and all of the other ones I trapped...which numbered in the thousands, over the years I lived there. While monitoring my nest boxes, I personally witnessed cases, where House Sparrows had pecked to death, the little bluebird fledglings, and sometimes, the parents...and had constructed their new nest (in the newly taken over box), right over the top of the dead bluebirds...and began to mate and lay eggs. This long as I have breath in my lungs, will never breed on any property where I live or reside on.
Let's look at the facts on what else can happen, when large flocks of this species are fed, and allowed to breed and flourish. First, ask yourself...what happens when over populations of humans or any species tales place...without the needed sanitary facilities or means to accommodate them ?
Here's what's happening in our yards, from a large pole feeder that is constantly supplied with cracked corn-millet cheaper spread feed:
There are large flocks of up to hundreds of these birds (I've counted over 400), that are in the trees, roofs, and sitting on the fences , gates, and walkways...that are a white wash of fecal matter. These flocks often go into our open garage, where I find the fecal droppings on the floor, and everywhere else...where I frequent, and where my little daughter plays and my family walks. I have to restrict my daughter from going to the area near the feeder (on the border of the yards), because of the constant mess and activity there. I tried to put out a kiddie wading pool for my daughter, last year. Changing the water daily, was not I saw these flocks of birds drinking and crapping, on and in the pool...constantly. This summer, I only set up a sprinkler for her to run through in the yard, and had to decide...that having a little pool for her, is not a good idea.
Ok, here are the facts on the diseases and problems that these birds are known to cause:

Makes me wonder on the recent bed bug outbreaks, this hot summer...around the country. So..who likes bed bugs?
Does anyone that reads this, and Now knows the facts...really want their family, a neighbors family or visitors, sitting around in this kind of outdoor environment, getting this fecal matter on their shoes, clothes and hands...and then coming into the house (it can enter, by many means...including your window fans and air conditioner) ?? How about the innocents (like my daughter) that just want to play out in the yard ? The problem is (again) the large flocks of these birds, that are always around, producing this filth. A bird feeder that has a moderate population of birds that visit, does not present this problem, and any fecal matter.... is localized, and easy cleaned up... on or around the feeder. This is much more than just my opinions or angry ramblings....these are indeed, the facts.
We all enjoy feeding birds, and watching the feeders. Yes, I do also....and I want my neighbors and relatives to continue to enjoy it, as well.
There are things that can be done, to help prevent this from happening, and still be able to enjoy the same feeder watching pleasure...without, the large unchecked flocks of vermin, disease ridden invasive birds, that Are polluting your yard, and your neighbors yards.
First, make a change on what you are offering at the feeder. The cheaper cracked corn, millet small seed feed the main problem. Instead of putting this in the large hanging feeders where people walk, close to the house, put this feed (if you really must) in a platform feeder...Well away from the houses , near the very back of the yard. Refill your hanging (close to house) feeders, with Safflower seed:

Thistle seed is great also, but more expensive.
You will get the same birds you enjoy seeing, but far less of the flocks of House Sparrows, and other pest birds (grackles, blackbirds, cowbirds) that you've been feeding with the millet seed.
I've learned from this info, also...and I am going to make adjustments. I have been putting out black oil sunflower seeds for years...but now realize that House Sparrows will eat them, readily...just as soon as the millet-cracked corn seed runs out, next door. Here's a little more info on what is best to put out, and what is not:

What people don't know, can hurt them, and others close ways we never considered before. I post this... as a solution to help my neighbors, my family, and for anyone else that chooses to read this blog. Thanks for reading, and for considering these facts, and the information that I've gathered.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Getting lost in the forest.... it's not hard

Since this blog is mainly focused on my field experiences and outings, I thought I would write about this very humbling experience, that happened to me back in the spring of 2001.
I was at an all time low, concerning my home life and first marriage situation, and really needed to get away for the weekend. In fact, I decided to leave a day early and head for the Adirondacks, after throwing together (hastily) some food and belongings, and my outdoor gear. I took a quick look at a topo map, and decided I would backpack from the Moose River Plains recreation area, and take a foot trail into the depths of the West Canada Wilderness. This would certainly get me away from it all, for a couple days. I was somewhat prepared... gear wise, and wasn't in bad physical shape. Mentally though, I was kind of a mess at that time in my life, due to the stress of a marriage gone bad and an unbearable home life. I can say this with all seriousness... that your mental state should be normal and clear, before deciding to venture into any unfamiliar wilderness, alone. It effects everything you do, including your attitude, common sense, and decision making process.
When I arrived, late that Friday morning, I crammed everything I thought necessary into my large Kelty backpack...accept for the means to spend the night...the first bad decision. I actually thought more of packing my film camera, bulky lenses and minidisc sound recorder.. over a sleeping bag, thermarest mat, and little bivy tent (which I forgot to bring, and left at home)... a terrible decision. I actually thought I could make it back before dark, and be sleeping at a campsite, where my vehicle was parked. I only packed one flashlight, an old headlamp... another bad decision. I packed enough food for a day, but enough water for several...well, only half bad.
I was taught better while out in the field.. training, in my youth.. but didn't seem to heed that knowledge at all, and thought that I would have no problem sleeping anywhere, and would certainly come across a lean-to, to crash, if I really needed to... you know, it was the Adirondacks. I fancied myself as a pretty good outdoorsman, ready for any of it... or so I thought.
I had my trusty Garmin Emap GPS unit with fresh, how could I get lost, or go down the wrong path ?
Leaving too late in the morning, was my first mistake. I thought I was going to walk a ways in, and walk back out.. and get out by dark. About seven miles into the hike, I realized I had better turn around, if I was going to make it out by dark. I had a headlamp and a flashlight for backup, but this trail was quite overgrown, being it still the spring and before Memorial Day, and it didn't look like there was much maintenance done at all. The deeper I walked in, the more narrow and hard to navigate, the trail was. The trail markers became harder to spot, and the forest became very thick, with many more mature trees that blotted out the sky.
I could see there was a pond through a clearing in the trees, and decided.. I would walk around it, and do some exploring, grab a quick bite to eat out of the pack, and then head back to the vehicle. The walking was slow and difficult, and I had to stop frequently to drink. It was somewhere on the far side of the pond.. while blazing, that I got turned around. Not only could I not backtrack, but I couldn't even find the damn pond. I must have stomped around for an hour looking for the reference marks I thought I had down pat, until the fear first came over me. I could not get a reading through the forest canopy with the GPS, to head me back toward the waypoint I recorded.. where I started to blaze off the trail, near the clearing. I spent the next hour or two, trying to get a GPS reading (in a bit of a hurry up panic), and find a decent clear spot to do it.. but it just didn't happen. It got thicker and thicker, and harder to navigate through. I was really pissed at myself at that time, and my emotions went from being mad, to feeling sorry for myself.. to the realization that I was losing the daylight behind the trees, and I was ... lost. Yes, me.. lost. It was really hard to admit that to myself, and I wasted a lot of valuable daylight time, not admitting it.
Finally, I dropped my gear in a clear spot near some pines, and started to gather some dry wood. I was going to be spending the night there, and should have accepted that fact, hours ago. I had no sleeping bag, but did have several emergency reflective cheapo blanket packets. I got a poor, smokey fire going, with some kindling, but the larger wood was quite wet, and did not burn at all. I had to keep gathering what smaller dry stuff, I could, and gathered a good pile of it. As darkness set in, the temps dropped. It was a day in the high 60s, but the temps were soon in the 40s, and falling, as it was the Adirondacks. I assessed what I had in my pack, for food and water. Enough water for several days, and enough food for a day. My headlamp crapped out in about 4 hours, and was down to the mag lite. I looked at the map and found my compass, and asked myself.. why I didn't use it sooner, and just walk east, to intersect the trail. I thought, that I might have been doing this, and thought I was.. by memory, and might have walked right by the poorly groomed trail, and maybe in between the trail markers. All kinds of awful thoughts popped into my head that night. Finally, I decided to save the flashlight, and had a little snack and drink, took a pee.. and then unwrapped the thin emergency blanket, and wrapped it around me. I took my pistol, flashlight, GPS, and water bottle, and crawled under the pine with the lowest branches. I said a prayer to God, for the first time in many months, and asked him to guide me out, somehow. If he did, I would do things different, next time out.. and share my experience and mistakes, with others.
During the night, I woke up many times.. only to realize where I was, and relive how a got there. I could hear a pack of coyotes howling and yipping, and it seemed like they were getting closer. My mouth was very dry, and it was really cold now. I guessed it was near freezing, and I could see a few stars though a gap in the pine, looking straight out from my forest floor bed of pine needles. I woke up, to hear something moving around me on the ground, and the hoots of a Great Horned.. that seemed to be mocking me, in my tired and unpleasant state of mind. The movement was an animal, but not something too big. After I didn't hear it anymore, I went back to sleep.. with my hand on the loaded pistol, for that false sense.. of some kind of security.
I awoke to the sounds of birds, with dew dripping down through the trees around me. The pine kept me dry, and probably prevented me (along with the reflective emergency blanket, and my chamois flannel shirt.. from getting hypothermia).
I crawled out, got the fire going, and looked at the map again.. and got a bearing with the compass, to head east - northeast. I felt a little better, but still knew my situation was dire, and that I had to make the right choices today, and stick to the compass heading.. keep moving slow and steady, conserve my food and water, and hope I could intersect the trail, and find it.
I felt like I was walking in circles, and would swear (literally) that I came upon the same trees, and rocks, and small creeks and markers.. I had before in the day, or yesterday. I felt like it was a scene from the Blair Witch Project movie, but nothing was after me.. accept the forest.. would not let me out. A haunting song by a band that I love, took over my thoughts, at this time.. while persisting to blaze through thick pines and dense thicket tangles, at the same compass heading I had promised myself, I would not vary away from :

Finally, after becoming very discouraged (but not letting myself sink into panic and dispair... like the late afternoon before)... I found a decent sized clearing where I would try the GPS again, and hope the batteries were still ok, after the very cold night. I was smart enough, to keep it inside the blanket, wrapped against my body.
I cryed out, in happiness.. when I got a position reading, right after the Garmin fired up. I had the area topo on the Garmin, and I was still in the area of the pond, and about a half mile east of the trail, and not far from the main intersection of the Northville - Placid main trail. Not more than a half hour of hard hiking later, I had the pond in view, and than came upon what I thought was the trail.. nope, not yet. It turned out to be a game trail, that finally lead me to the narrow foot trail, and I saw a very relieving site.. a trail marker on a tree. God did listen to me, and must have felt it was not my time yet, and gave me the inspiration to walk myself out of.. being .. good and damn lost. It was 2 PM, the next day from the morning I started out. I let out more breaths of relief, mumbling stuff to myself, and ate my last meal.. left, and drank up. It took another six hours to walk out, and back to my waiting vehicle.. just as dusk was settling in, again. Was never so glad.. to see that Ford F-150. I took a nap in the back of the truck, laying on the pad, and in the sleeping bag I didn't bring. I left.. well after dark, and had no bad feeling about going home to the ugly marriage I ran away from.. because I was alive, and unharmed. Just freaked out, and a little scratched up from ducking through briers and thickets, and as sore as I'd been in years, from the long hike.
I never told anyone where I was going, and knew that was dumb, and thought about how long I would have been gone and lost, before my soon to be ex-wife or teenage son, would have reported me missing, and / or someone found my vehicle near the trail head.
Years later, I read an article in Adirondack Life magazine.. about how the area I was in, had swallowed up many a hiker. Some were found, and others were never found. All of them in the "lost hikers" article, did not live to tell the tale I'm telling.. and the others like me, probably held off on telling it, until a moment like now came along.. and they decided to share their experience with others, about what they did wrong, and most important.. what they did right.. to be able to walk out, and not become one of the names in that article.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A witness sighting from the Philippines .... that can now be seen

In 1985, my wife (then a 10 year old girl) was walking home, taking a short cut through a large abandon lot that bordered a cemetery, that was surrounded by thick concrete walls. There was a very large and old tamarind tree in the corner of the lot. As she walked past the tree, she smelled what she thought was tobacco smoke . When she paused, turned, and looked back, she saw a large, dark, hairy figure sitting on a limb of the tamarind tree. The creature (she calls "Agta") was already staring down at her. She was able to see enough detail, to implant this fearful childhood image in her memory. I won't go into any further detail about the incident, because it can be read about.... here, on a post and write up I did a while back on several forums (the NESRA forum, an information inquiry and write up on the BFRO forum) :

I have spent quite a bit of time gathering all the information and details from my wife, about this incident. It was an emotional and somewhat terrifying experience for her. She agreed (at first, reluctantly) to share the details, and have a witness sketch done of the creature.
Getting someone willing to work with her (via myself as the middle man, to relay the info and details) on a sketch, has also taken some time. I was hoping that this could somehow be accomplished through the internet. I was lucky enough to hook up with several artists (recently) that were interested, on the "Search for Bigfoot" forum. I think that this helps to demonstrate, how these BF forums can be used in a positive manner, to help folks meet up with each other, that might have otherwise.... never done so, and now have opportunities, to work together.
One gentleman, was quite backlogged with folks waiting for his services ( that are well worth the wait).... but still, kindly offered to do a portrait, and work with myself and my wife.
Another gentleman also offered his assistance, and wanted the chance to work with an eyewitness, and see if he could be of help. I'm very pleased that we gave this person the chance. I provided all the details of the encounter, and some comparison sketches that we had looked through on another site (The Painted Cave), that my wife thought looked somewhat similar to what she witnessed, as this was a good starting point.
After a few email exchanges on information, the artist ( screen name - "Knuckledragger") sent me a very well done sketch, for my wife to review and critique. I was impressed by the artistic talent and accurate detail (based on the information given) in this portrait. I was even more amazed, by the reaction of my wife... that I noticed from the second she laid eyes on it... was emotional, wide eyed, and a bit fearful, from seeing this image on the monitor. I asked her to please look at it again (when she could), and tell me if it needed any changes, and what they were. She told me that it was all accurate, in regards to what she remembers seeing... but in a more "close up" way, than the wider field of her actual vision. I asked her many times...until she got mad at me (yes, this happens sometimes... lol) , and she concluded that there were only several details that needed to be changed in the portrait.
I think, that between my wife's implanted memory of the incident, my many hours of talking to her about details, and putting this down in written form, and finally... "Knuck's" portrait drawing talents, and understanding of the information provided .... made this come together, more quickly than any of us had expected.
So, what does the creature in the portrait look like ? In my opinion, it has the characteristics of many described eyewitness reports of sasquatch-like creatures and/or hominids around the world. I think there are more things human-like to observe in the portrait, than pongid. That said, I still can't come to any accurate conclusions, of what this is... maybe in a class all by itself (?) It has a very close resemblance (in Knuck's first sketch) to another drawing, from a book I have (The Field Guide to Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates) by Coleman/Huyghe... page 123. The creature in that drawing ( Nguoi rung, or " forest people") has been seen by many, in Vietnam. To my knowledge, the artist had never seen the drawing in the book, until I sent him a scanned image of it, for comparison. By her say so...the creature my wife saw, did not have an upturned nose... but a wider, flatter one. What she also estimated, was a larger creature than the 6' tall Nguoi rung described in the book.
I think that Knuck has a great future as an artist, and helping out eyewitnesses transform their sightings, into a portrait, for all to see... if he should choose to do so, of course.
I'm glad that this has finally been accomplished, as I've been trying for almost two years, to get it done. My sincere Thanks, go out to everyone that was involved in the process. I'll be happy to share this with my friends, family and contacts in the Philippines, as well as any folks that might be interested in the N. American and International BF communities (researchers/investigators or enthusiasts) .
I have attached an image of the first sketch, and the finished painted portrait. I have blotted out the artist's real signed name on the portraits, to protect his identity.
As I've mentioned elsewhere, I'm always looking for more info out of the Philippines, and to hear about other peoples experiences in the RP (both Pinoys and foreigners) . I plan to personally field investigate... into the mystery of this creature, in the future. The question on whether it's still out there, and where to find physical evidence of it... is what my goals will be. I'm uncertain if this can be accomplished or not, but plan on... at least trying.
Since this involves my wife, and the artist (and not just me)... I'm very serious on making sure, that these portrait images do not end up on forums or blogs, that search out and import other's materials and past communications, for their entertainment and/or ridicule purposes . The artist, has copyrighted his portraits and images. Respectful opinions and comments (including skeptical ones) , are always welcome. Thanks for reading, and understanding.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Iggy look-a-likes, and Wawa land

I had never been to New Jersey, much less the Pine Barrens. The thought of 1.1 million acres of unique forested landscape between Philadelphia and Atlantic City, seemed interesting, and something I've always wanted to explore.
The spring NESRA expedition would take place there, in the Wharton SF...within the NJ Pine Barrens. I made the 7 1/2 hour drive there, after work in the the overnight hours. I was pumped up with instant energy drink, but that did not make driving through almost 90 miles of thick fog from Binghamton to Allentown, any better. AAA can shove their trip ticket, as I found a much better way to get into Jersey, than through the heart of Philly....and the 6 hour time estimate, is not for anyone using cautious and defensive driving skills, at night. I missed the exit I wanted, and came into the forest from the south, which turned out interesting, to see the pigmy pined forest on each side of the Atlantic City Expressway.
In the town of Hammonton, I experienced a lot of hurried (ride your bumper) type of drivers. I was in no hurry, and was just making sure I was following the right roads in. At a stop sign, I had to pull out left onto a divided highway, that had a fair amount of traffic. While waiting for my chance to pull out, I heard the constant horn of the driver behind me, and upon looking in my rear view mirror....saw him waving his arms and flipping me off, from his convertable sports car. Apparently, he thought it was Ok to pull out into on coming traffic with my big, loaded boat....and that I was driving like grandma (?) I could feel myself starting to get pissed, and when I finally did get the chance to pull out, I pulled over to let the jerk by me, and if he wanted to discuss the situation...all the better. My anger turned to amazement, as the dude drove by in the weird looking orange colored Lamborghini, and continued to throw me the bird...but didn't have the nuts to stop, and put it in my face, and tell me what he thought of my cautious driving. When I looked at his face, it was like a blast from the past...the splitting image of punk rock icon, Iggy Popp. Right down to the eyelashes, mop hair, short bangs style, no shirt, facial features...a dead ringer (a saw his act twice, on stage). It obviously wasn't the real "Iguana", as Iggy is well into his 60s now. So, for most of the weekend, I had this song buzzing around relentlessly, in my head (ever had that happen ?) :

I wonder if two roadies had to carry this dude into his leather bucket seat?
Conclusion, the closer you get to the megalopolus near the Atlantic (Beantown, NYC, Jersey, Philly, Baltimore,Washington).....the more aggressive and impatient, the drivers. All the more fascinating, that there is a large tract of wild forest left preserved, within this mass of humanity.
I arrived at the ranger station early, and walked around a bit. I took a nap, and then met my NESRA contact (Mike), who was the only one that would be at the meeting location, for this expedition. We got the skinny from the forestry people, and proceeded down the narrow white sand duned forest roads , to the heart of the forest, and parking area. We hiked into the primitive camp, and set up our tents and organized our gear. This was truly a large and beautiful area, next to a branch of river, that had very red-brown and slow moving to still waters. It turned out to be the norm, for this area, as we encountered the same in all of the water locations we visited. An explanation for this can be found here:

We hiked and scouted out a large open area, that we thought suitable for our first night operations location, where we would observe this area from a hill, with night vision.... and listen, with our audio setups. We had no success in finding any unusual tracks, accept for a couple questionable depressions...that could have come from many sources. I also did a test run on my new helmet cam, that seemed to need repositioning forward on my helmet, after my partner (Mike) pointed out that the angle of the video, was probably pointing up in the lower tree branches. Dinner was fast, as we were assaulted by mosquitoes (at dusk), that seemed to like flying into my mouth, and following the trail of hot Bush beans and giant hotdogs, from hand to mouth. Just one of the things you have to put up with, in a boggy environment. When my partner went to pick up our third member (John) at the ranger station..., I waited by the vehicle, and just listened in the dark, before the mosquitoes drove me into my vehicle....that was also filled with mosquitoes.....nice ! The good news was, I don't recall getting many bites...just constantly buzzed and annoyed. The tropical insect repellent I used overseas, seemed to do well here, also.
After John arrived, we let him eat, and helped get him set up in camp. The other two guys that were camping in the other end of the area, came down and talked while we were setting up, and asked Mike for a ride to their vehicle, claiming the forest station folks had not told them how to drive to the parking spot, where we were parked. The guy offered to buy our ice (that I needed) and anything else, for the ride. Possible... yes, but I found the story and the guys...a little far fetched. Just a feeling (survived , so far...with my gut feelings) I had about these guys. One was doing all the talking, while the other was looking a bit like Egor (a nutty, kiss ass, tag along type) that just grunted and looked around all crazy eyed. The shirt he was wearing "White Trash and Proud of It" gave the rest me, anyhow. Other than this rather bold (but well ending) encounter, they kept to, absolutely no harm done.
Our night opps took place on a hill we scouted out earlier, that overlooked a large open sandy area. We got a little excited when I heard and recorded a set of 9 distant knocks...that after further review and talking to John (he listened to the recorded track) back at camp...turned out to be our neighbor buddies chopping up more wood, for their fire. We were about a mile and a half out of camp, and well with in the pickup range of my dish and mics. The ongoing sound of Whippoorwill courtship (or maybe nesting?) could be heard all around in the forest. Other than that...a dead calm and silence, that was rather eerie. We were out, and up till 4 AM, but did not have any other results. While driving back to camp on the sandy narrow road, Mike's headlights revealed... none other, than our camp neighbors walking in the opposite direction. After talking for a bit, we found out, that they decided to walk (in the pitch black darkness) back (Lord only knows, how far) to get their vehicle. The Egor looking dude was sharing down at me, and saying nothing (like usual). That's when it hit me, that he really looked just like the older kid enforcer (Malachai) , from the first Steven King horror flick "Children of the Corn". There was something strange there, and I didn't want to find out, what. A comfortable distance between us , and them.... is what I wanted.
The Whippoorwill activity got rather intense, a couple hours before dawn. I think these recordings will attest to that, recorded from my tent set up in camp. I even got some owl action along with the whippoorwills. Some of the close up Whippoorwill events (within our camp) can be heard here, at these two links :

The following day we hiked along a trail that followed the river, but after a while, we realized that there were no muddy or sandy areas (or riverbank) to speak of, to look for tracks...only an immediate drop off from the forest, into the red-brown water. We heard a dog barking, and then saw that a family had taken the dog along in the boat, for the canoe adventure. We turned around and hiked back, finding more spots to check out, away from the river...than near to the river.
We scouted out our 2nd night opp spot by vehicle, before we made an ice run. Our Saturday night position was next to a large pond and forested area, where we set up with chairs and our equipment, and silently viewed the pond and forest with night vision goggles.... and just listened. While Mike was test tapping trees for a set of wood knocks, I had heard what sounded like a whistle (through the teeth) coming from the forest on the east side of the pond. We walked up the road near the area, and scanned with the goggles (and saw nothing), and even tried a couple of our own whistles, to maybe provoke a response...but nothing. After I got home and reviewed the entire recording, the "whistle" turned out to be a deer blow. The clip can be heard here, and there are actually a few deer blows, and the sounds of a deer bounding around:

The next day, we packed up leisurely, and could tell it was going to get hot. On our first night there, we actually had the heat cranked in the vehicle, and bundled up in the tent.... as the temps went down much lower (clear sky and calm), than forecast. While hiking out of camp with full packs and equipment, we came across 3 younger guys that asked us where they could find the pump toilet, and some they were running low (and probably had to crap). They also, did not have a vehicle anywhere nearby, and looked very exhausted...with a story of how they hiked all day, and didn't find this campground, slept out in the forest, and didn't seem to know exactly where they were. One of the guys followed me up and asked me (politely) if it would somehow be possible to catch a ride out of the forest, and if I owned the big vehicle. The three of them were all around my son's age (early twenties) and looked like... they'd really had enough. They also had a dog, that was thirsty. We gave everyone some water, and I rearranged my vehicle to accommodate sitting everyone for the ride out. Although I was happy to help out these guys, it did distract me from doing my own gear check, and the usual things one would do, before leaving a camp area.
We got everyone (and my vehicle) out of the forest without incident, and I ended up taking them to the nearest store, so they could eat, drink, and wait for their ride, in comfort. I said my goodbyes to Mike and John, and proceeded to drive to one of the famous area mini marts in this region (on Mike and John's suggestion), to check it out, and get another large cold drink for the long ride.
It was at the Wawa store, that it hit me like a f@#%ing recorder was still in a tree and recording, from where I left it, near the parked vehicles for the last overnight.........damn. After multiple awe shits, and curses....there was no doubt...I Was going back for it. At least I was not yet out of Jersey, or even worse ...back home in NY, before the thought had occurred.
It took another 3 hours, before I was back by the same Wawa (where I stopped again for more drinks, and a sub). I did not go all the way back, to where we parked near camp, because of the fear of my big rear wheel drive"burban" getting stuck in them sand dunes, with no one around to help me. On the very hot and sweaty walk back in , I spotted a lizard sliding through the white sand dunes...very cool, and the only highlight of this little unplanned return. And after researching it..... came to the conclusion that it was definitely, this:

So, what is with this Wawa thing here, I'm hearing.... and just what the hell is a Wawa ? It's Jerseys and Eastern PAs (and elsewhere in the region) version of our Seven Eleven.
Anyway, I thought it was a nice store, and it had it all..... and the AC was blasting. The people were even.... friendly ! I had asked Mike about it, earlier, and he seemed to think that the name could be a take off, on the Beach Boys classic song (Little GTO).
Well, after getting caught in an hour long Sunday traffic jam in the heat, from the Jersey shore crowd, all trying to get on the Turnpike, at once..... I'd really had enough. For the long seven hour plus ride home, I had That Beach Boys song (to replace the Iggy one) buzzing around in my head, relentlessly...but it Was, a damn good sub.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Why am I going to continue my journey into bigfootery ?

The question has been asked, to me. To start with.....I'm interested in the phenomenon. I first and foremost want to prove this creature exists, to seeing is believing. I'm almost totally convinced now, but I need to see it for myself. This must come first, before I would ever consider trying to prove it to anyone else. I don't consider this's just the way it is, with me. So far, I've experienced enough strange unexplained things happening out there, to more than keep me interested. Were all these incidents sasquatch related ? I'm not completely sure on that, but suspect that they very well could be. Whatever unknown source caused them... I would very much like to find out, more about. This blog contains many of those experiences, and I'm hoping there are more to come. I would like to be able to explain them...first, to myself. These incidents have only been a tease, and I feel the need to go out and (at least try to) get more solid answers. Forums are helpful for gathering information, and I've met a lot of good people in my internet travels ... and also some not so nice ones, of whom I try to avoid, and not argue with...about things that none of us are really sure of. Anyway, the answers are not there on the internet... they are out there in the forest....... somewhere.
The other things that have convinced me.... is my wife's eyewitness encounter (as a young girl, in the Philippines), and hearing from indigenous tribesman (that had no qualms about telling us... that hairy, stinky "wildmen" do exist out there, in the mountainous regions of remote forest, on Luzon) ..... half a world away. Also, the sheer amount of witness reports, and the similarities of the reports across N. America and elsewhere... although I can accept that a certain percentage of these reports, are BS. What percent are actually real ?, I really haven't a clue...and neither does anyone else.
I tend to give the person telling the encounter story.... the benefit of the doubt, first. I can't see how someone reading a forum, can "red flag" a witness report, when they have nothing other than the report itself, to compare it too...and know nothing about the witness, personally. Just because certain folks are top dog posters on a forum, and have "heard it all", it doesn't make them capable of determining a true story, or a made up just reading a report, or someone's post about a field incident.
At the same time, I am puzzled how the investigator taking the report can deem a witness "credible", by only a phone conversation. On a face to face interview...I can understand coming to a conclusion about a witness and account story. Witnesses are the best thing we have, in exploring this phenomenon, and should Always be treated with respect....whether one chooses to believe their incident story, or not. Respect is disappearing from our society in general, and bigfootery is just another example of that overall trend. Respect is contagious (just like ridicule and disrespect, are)... so it is my guarantee that everyone I deal with in this field of interest...will get that respect, from start with.
I can understand some people involved with this research.... wanting to remain anonymous , to protect their professions and families, from some of the elements out there, that could do them damage. For me, I am beyond the point of caring what others think of me, in regards to my interest in the subject, within my family, friends, or at work. I will laugh out loud, the day someone tells me at "come down off that ladder", or out from under that dirty crawl space or work station....and renounce any beliefs in sasquatch....or take my tools and get out.
My family does not worry about it. My wife worries more about my safety, and me not coming home from an expedition, or camping trip. She has seen a version of this thing, and already knows it exists. I give my little daughter, and my older son.... the straight answers (what little I really know) about my interests.
My long time friend and camping partner, no longer smiles at me...when I speak of the strangeness of the investigations. He has taken on a different attitude, since experiencing an incident while we were camping together (in an area with a previous witness report), last year. My other friends, don't really care at all. If anyone (outside of my family) wants to walk away from me for wanting to continue doing this, to try and get some big loss, on my part. As far as believing my stories, about my either do, or you don' big deal, or hard feelings here. I've never been a good liar, or comfortable telling a fib, or tall tale. I have no need to impress..... anyone.
I don't want to get deeply involved in the seemingly endless politics of bigfootery, that is mainly conflicts between people that don't like each other, or just have different opinions.... and has little or nothing to do with the actual field research...which is what I am interested in. This field of interest is not my profession (is it for most folks?) , but a pastime. I've vowed to keep my free time, and not filled with unpleasantness, or at work. This means, avoiding the people that will make it, not fun. This does not mean I am not serious about the field of interest. You can be serious and still have fun.
I see this as a "can't lose" situation for myself. If all of my future efforts in the field, are unsuccessful, than I still got out into the field, camped, hiked, recorded, was introduced to some awesome new field locations, and met some other like minded folks, that I can call friends.
Bigfootery is just a made up word, for a field of interest that involves field investigations, conferences, gatherings, radio shows, and whole lot of internet chit chat.
I'll stay the course, until I feel that I'm completely wasting my money and time. I can't see that happening, until my body won't carry me out there in the forest, any longer. Let the journey continue.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

NY City....safer, but not cheaper or saner

I had little choice, but to go there. No longer can you renew an international passport, by mail. Another example of how 911 screwed the common folk in America, while others seem to profit from all of the many, post 911 regulations, so we are (of course) , safer ....... hmmmmmm.
My wife and daughter's Philippine passport was due to expire next month, and the Philippine consulate is in midtown Manhattan. I considered driving to the consulate in Toronto, but after adding it up (expenses) and thinking about the border crossings, currency exchange and the Gardner Expressway....naa, notta. Not to mention, that every time some China man airport security screener(while passing through Hong Kong) on route to and from the Philippines, examines my families passports...they Will ask...."why you live in NY, and this issued in Canada?...please step over here..... please".
I booked the flights, took a day off from work....and hoped for the best, in NYC. The only good part of the trip, was the flight down. From there, we waited in a taxi stand and then caught a cab to midtown. If anyone has ever traveled on the Van Wyck, during rush hour.... you already know what a nut house it is. Cabbies are all foreigners, and aggressive drivers, that will scare the crap out of you, all the way in, for the hellish ride in bumper to bumper traffic coming at you from everywhere. Fortunately, my wife and daughter slept through it all.
The Philippine consulate on 5th Ave, is not unlike any government building that I experienced while in the Philippines. In fact, it is a little slice of that experience...right here in the USA. Crowded, never enough chairs or space to get out of your own way, hot (no fans or AC), and an important looking Pinoy wearing a Barong Tagalog...pointing everywhere, and not speaking his known English (Yes, this is America). Despite this confusing (not to my wife, of course) run around pain in the ass....the process of paperwork, fingerprints, and photos all went ok, and was done there at the consulate, in an hour and a half. Everyone smiles there, at least. The main reason we accomplished.
We caught another cab to Battery Park, so that my wife and daughter (and me) could experience the ferry ride to the Statue, and Ellis Island. The ride was bumpy, with the Arab looking cabby heavy on both the brakes, and gas peddle. My daughter has a riding motion sickness, and it kicked in high gear. You would think he would slow down and ease up some...well, not a chance. My daughter lost her breakfast, lunch.... and was suffering. When we finally arrived, there was a thick line of people, that I estimate was at least a quarter mile long, or longer. I don't believe we would have made a ferry ride, much before sundown . Due to my daughter's terrible condition, we canceled our restaurant plans (Jollybee, in Queens) and told the cabby to head back to JFK....which he was more than happy to reset his meter, and charge again, the flat fee ($45 plus more fees and ass burn) . The traffic at noon, was still heavy, and something told always is. We were lucky to get on an earlier flight out, after canceling our later, planned one. We flew standby, and some nice lady made sure my wife and daughter sat together, by exchanging seats.
Although I've done my share of bitching in this post, let me take the time to compliment Jet Blue airlines for a hassle free trip, a free drink and snack each way, and for hiring two very nice and courteous stewardess ...that we had each way on the trip, and were very good to my wife and sick little girl. A refreshing change from the white trash acting stewardess hags, and the babbling, lisping feminine stewards.... that we had on our last several intercontinental flights on American Airlines. The pilot came through for us, with a safe landing , after another rough decent into Rochester (I've had more than a few, now) with gusty westerly winds.
This trip reminded me of why I was anxious to come home, after working in Manhattan back in the '80s. The streets are still smelly, crowded, and not any wider (accept for Broadway, and the Times Square area). Here's a rundown on the expenses :
Airfare for three.... $480
Passport renewals and photos....$120
Taxi fares...$120
Lost wages (unpaid day off)....$190
Meal and snacks...$60
On airport parking...$11
My wife and daughters passports renewed, so they can travel at will, to the country of their birth..... priceless

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Unknown smell, shape, and sounds.... in the forest

During the NESRA fall expedition ( October of 2009 ) in the Adirondack Park, myself and the others attending..... experienced more unexplained happenings in the forest. Not a full blown incident, or absolute sighting....but more of the subtle occurences , that can cause you to question yourself, but evidently realize.....that there IS something out of the ordinary happening here, that could be easily missed, if you were not there for the purpose of investigating into this phenomenon.
This location was just a few miles (as the crow flies) away from the summer expedition location, where I (and night opps partner) also experienced some strange nocturnal surrounding movements, sounds, feelings...and a tremendously loud forest floor thud (heard by three of us), and a set of quick knocks and tree crash ( that was captured on audio). Once again, putting out a portable digital audio recorder... payed off, and there were distant (and some closer) sounds recorded, that do not add up to normal nocturnal sounds heard in remote wild forest.
On three different occasions, I heard the sounds of a rapid knocking, like a tree being whacked on randomly, with force. While out on the trail with my night opps partner.... twice .... I picked up this sound with my dish and recorder, to the south. I didn't get this recorded, due to a malfunction in the battery of my minidisc recorder, and me not being as quick to the draw as needed, to start the recorder off of the "pause"mode. The rapid knocks (7-8) and distant howls of a coyote pack on the move...happened at around the same time. I believe the knocks came from the the same general area, each time. The knocks were not heard by our 2 other members back at camp, or by my partner in our night opp position. We did heard the faint sounds of one of the members sounding off (announced) on his didgeridoo, in the hopes it might draw some kind of response from this low frequency blast of sound. We all did sets of woodknocks, and a couple of our own vovalizations, that drew no replies. An overnight recording was in order, setting out the recorder a ways down a path near the shoreline of the pond, a little walk from the camp. The knocks were once again picked up, during a more stranger vocalization...that could have been a Barred Owl...or else a good imitator of one. The sounds recorded were distant, from well across the pond, but still easy to recognize as the same "whacking" I had heard on the night opps. I find it interesting, that these sets of knocks occurred during known (or maybe unknown) nocturnal animal vocalizations. Here is a link to that recorded clip:

In addition to this, there was some strange percussive rhythms, that sounded closer, on the near side of the pond and forest. This sounded like wooden wind chimes, or bongos...that I deemed as coming from "forest hippies". It has even been more interesting sharing these sounds with others.... that have put out audio recorders, and have found some comparisons with some startling similarities to the sounds, in several other locations in the eastern and southern portions of the country. Here are the links to those recorded clips:

When a fellow NESRA member (Chuck) and local resident of the area, scouted out the basecamp location and seasonal road conditions back into this area....he arrived with several friends, and had heard woodknocks. Everyone noticed a strange (dirty wet dog) kind of unpleasant smell...but Chuck had waited to speak of it.... until his two friends mentioned it, first. It had rained, and was beginning to rain again, so they didn't stay any longer. It had also rained the first day of the expedition, when we all (three of us) noticed this smell again, and well into the evening and early morning hours. The smell came and went, and varied in intensity. It seemed to be coming from the path along the pond, where I recorded the odd sounds, the following night. Chuck had noted that the woodknocks and smell had come from another direction, on the scouting trip from the week before. We could not find a physical source for this smell, during our investigations of the area. Chuck.... a nearby resident, having frequented this area many times before...was unfamiliar with the smell, in regards to it being something natural, that might occur in the fall after or during a rain. So....what smells like a dirty wet dog that needs a bath...out in the forest? Could it be a stray wild dog...or maybe something else?
On the first evening - early morning, the three of us sat under a tarp, and around a table, dodging the occasional drizzle, and just quietly chatting under lights out conditions in the basecamp. The rain stopped and the moon came up behind the clouds, to brighten the sky over the pond. We had all noticed the wet dog smell...again, and I was facing the path where the smells seemed to come from. My eyes were very dark adapted at this point, and I could make out the position of the trees, and the horizon line on the opposite side of the pond. Below the horizon, the closer foliage was too dark to reveal any detail. There was a brighter window, just above through the trees, courtesy of the moonlight and brightening sky background. While staring in that direction...I noticed a dark, rounded top of a shape.... pass through quickly, from left to right. The shape was flatter on the right and more curved on the left, and came to a rounded point on the top. I was certain I saw a glowing red eye on the right (flatter side) of the shape as it passed. It happened in an instant...but I clearly recall what I saw. Chuck caught me still staring at the location, and asked me if I had seen something. I was in a bit of shock.... to be honest, and just trying to collect my thoughts..... making sure I had not drifted off (asleep), or was just imagining things. For some reason, I didn't feel the urge to shout out, or spring out of the chair. I told the two, the description of what I had just seen, and we all took a walk down the trail a ways...still smelling the wet dog smell, but seeing nothing (of course).
What did I see? Well, I definitely saw something, but heard nothing. A Barred Owl comes to mind, and does have orange-red eyes, and a rounded shape to the top of the head. After thinking about this a whole lot....I came to these conclusions:
There was no artificial illumination that was used by any of make an owls eye reflect red, back at me. Whatever glowed red...glowed red on it's own accord...weird, huh?
If it was an owl...after getting a better perspective in the daylight on how far, and how large the shape actually was a damn big owl.
There were other campers in the area, but they were long asleep, and could not have pulled off a stunt like that...without at least being heard. They did not know why we were there, or what we were doing there.
I did a rough sketch the next day of what I saw, in perspective to the trees, horizon, and as much detail in the dark I could produce with a pen. Unfortunately, I don't draw well (note the field drawing at the top)...but the shape , position of the eye on the shape, and size of the shape compared to the background surroundings...was as accurate as I remembered. I also noted where the horizon began, across the pond, in perspective to my field of view from where I was sitting. We did some measurements the next day, and determined that the top of whatever it was...was at least 8.5 ft off the ground.
We also found a large area of matted down grass, and an unusual tree twist, that was completely twisted off, with the twisted off part...nowhere to be found.
What does this all mean? Well, just what the title of the blog post says. I wish I knew more, but can't wish my life away. Hoping that more answers, and less questions...are in the stars, for the future of these investigations.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A tale of four eclipses

Astronomy is one of my past times. I can't think of anything that caused me to have such a natural rush, and moments of exhilaration in my life....than to witness an eclipse of the sun. I'll start out by saying from experience, that a partial solar eclipse, or a total or partial lunar a breathtaking sight....but does not even come close too... a total solar eclipse. To bask in the moon's shadow during totality, and gaze at the otherwise invisible solar corona, with the covered sun appearing like a large living sunflower in the something I'll never ever forget, and long to do again. It is easy for me to understand, how this event could have struck fear and awe into ancient cultures, ...that interpreted the meaning of the event, in many different ways. It even started wars, and was interpreted as a warning, or a sign from the gods to attack an enemy.
For someone that says "no big deal"...I will venture to guess that this person has not yet witnessed one, and could never (truthfully) say that, after they did. There are groups of people who chase these events around the globe, and plan their lives around them. I would indeed like to join them, if it was at all possible.
Against the advice of the folks I traveled with to the Philippines , to attend a 10 year reunion in March of 1988.....I booked a flight from Manila to General Santos City. Why would I leave the relative safety of other Americans and many friendly locals, to travel to a region known for violence between the muslim separatist groups, and the Philippine government and addition to the potential for kidnappings of foreigners ? Well, to try to witness my first total solar eclipse, that was scheduled to happen on that day, and blanket the entire southern half of Mindanao, in the temporary darkness of the moon's shadow. My flight was late (very common in the RP), but I did witness the event, from the airport in Gen. Santos, and not from my hotel, like I had originally planned. No matter.... I was hooked, after seeing this...WOW...what a spectacle and atmosphere. What I noticed the most (with my 10x50 binoculars) , was the 2 very large red prominences (top and bottom) projecting off the edge of the eclipsed sun during totality, and the magnificent sight of the solar corona. I was in awe of what I had just witnessed...but needed a dose of reality, from someone. I stayed at the airport, after being told by a friendly Pinoy local, that took in the eclipse with to me.... about the current situation and happenings (kidnappings for ransom , and even beheadings) in the region, even within the normally safer city. Sometimes...things happen for a good reason. I arranged to catch a return flight to Manila, and remained at the airport....and that, was that.
In May of 1994, myself and my young niece were treated to an annular eclipse of the sun, from my (former) backyard in Hamlin, NY. The moon is not close enough or large enough to completely cover the solar disk, so what is left is what is called "the ring of fire". This was a treat to see using eclipse glasses, so not to burn our retinas. Even staring at a small slice of the sun, can do permanent damage to your always use protection and caution. The only safe time to view with the naked eye, is during the moments of totality (if during a total eclipse, of course). I would jump at another chance to view an annular eclipse, and hope to have another opportunity. I wish I had been more prepared, and shot a couple photos of this event. We did notice that it did get a bit darker and the temps dropped around 5 degrees, with all the birds going silent on a normal sunny mid spring day. I think that nature fools nature...for the moments during an eclipse.
I had been waiting for another total eclipse, that wasn't on the other end of the planet. I was very disappointed to miss "the big one" in 1991, in Mexico, and had read many reports and seen lots of footage and photos.
I started to plan for the next one, that would take a path through the Caribbean in Feb. of 1998. I just had to make this one...somehow. My first marriage was not at all healthy in the late '90s, and when I told my exwife that I was going on a cruise that would take me around the Carribbean, and either Montserrat or Aruba to attempt to see a total eclipse, the reaction, was at first... negative. She finally approached me, and said "the only if you take me along" . I calmly said "ok", and booked the cruise package and flights almost one year in advance with the Astronomical League, that would be sailing on the Carnival Cruise lines.... MS Fascination .
We arrived in San Juan, PR, to board. This was my first cruise, and I must say I was overwhelmed with the service, food, boat full of friendly happy people, and everything else happening on board with the Astronomical League...that put on some outstanding presentations.
We sailed to US Virgin Islands (where I snorkeled until exhausted), Guadaloupe, Grenada, Caracas ( pre Hugo Venezuela), and finally Aruba. I want to live on a cruise ship, and understand why some folks with lots of $$...almost do. The cruise, ship's crew and service, food, choices, and ports of call...was outstanding. We had the choice, of disembarking with my equipment to view the eclipse from land, on Aruba...or sail back out to sea, and chase the shadow on a mobile cruise ship. I wanted to photograph the event, this time...and decided that I would take it in from land. Surprisingly, the ex Mrs wonderful.... joined me. The Astronomical League had reserved a large grounds, next to the ocean...with beautiful tropical gardens, food, and an unobstructed view of the SW...from which the moons shadow would be racing in from, at us. This all sounded too perfect, maybe? The weather prospects for a clear sky in February, on Aruba...was over an 80% chance. It looked good, until about an hour and a half before the start of the eclipse. After the lot of us (a large field and garden full of eclipse chasers) had set up our scopes, cameras, and viewing really clouded up, and actually started to sprinkle. It put everyone in a dismal mood, as there was cloud cover from horizon to horizon.
The partial phases of the eclipse began, with the sky still cloudy, but clearing up to our west. About 1o minutes or so before the start of totality...the crescent sun was visible, with the happy cheers of many anxious people...realizing that they were going to see this eclipse, and that the sky gods were again smiling.
I was able to take many photographs during the various partial phases, and during totality. Two of the pictures are here. One, is of the "diamond ring" that is the moment when the first sliver of sun emerges from behind the moon. The other photo being during mid totality, with the corona clearly visible. During totality, it was dark enough to view the two planets (Jupiter and Venus) that were near to the sun... which is another sky bonus, that would only happen and be visible during a total eclipse. The two plus minutes of totality goes quick, and before you know's all over. A report on the event, by the most well know eclipse chaser ...Fred Espenak, is here:

The Fascination fared just as well out to sea, and treated the passengers on board to a stunning view near the smoking gun of the Montserrat volcano, that was still spewing a cloud of post eruption ash into the sky. The advantage to staying aboard the ship....was the mobility of the ship that could dodge the clouds while remaining in the path of the eclipse...which the captain and crew accomplished very well, much to the delight of the many viewers that lined the ship's decks. It was fortunate that both land and sea viewers...had gotten what they had come to see, and then some. When the ship ported again , to pick us up in Oranjestad , Aruba...there were many stories to share at dinner, and though out the last leg of the cruise, that headed back to San Juan. One thing I told, if I had the privilege to witness another one of these events, that it would be taken in with my naked eyes and senses (the whole experience), and that I would not spend as much of the precious several minutes behind a camera and tripod.
I got that chance again , the following year. I had been looking into another cruise that was put on by North Star expeditions, that was set to sail out out NY City, for 10 days out in the North Atlantic and along the Canadian Maritimes (around Newfoundland). In no shape or manner, could I afford the trip to Europe , or better yet, Turkey...where the best weather chances to view the August 11, 1999 eclipse, was to be had. This cruise aboard the aging "Regal Empress", was my only chance. The eclipse shadow would actually start out in the N. Atlantic in the very early AM, before it raced toward the coast of the British Isles, and though parts of Europe and Asia.
The chances for a clear sky, to have the chance to see this eclipse, had the dimmest prospects on the entire less than a 30% chance. If nothing else...I would enjoy this cruise with my son, and take in some whale watching and enjoy some sea bird viewing, and the fine foods and ports of call in places I haven't been...and who knows.... we could get lucky.
My son and I took a Greyhound down to NYC, from Rochester (not a recommended form of transportation, after trying this). and arrived at Penn Station, where we caught a cab to the pier and boarded the Regal Empress. It was a beautiful August day, with the sun shining on the city, as we slowly sailed by Manhattan, and made the turn past the south end of island. I remember vividly, the image of the magnificent twin World Trade towers, with the sun gleaming off them. I often watch the camcorder footage I shot that day... to remember the towers, and to all who lost their lives and made sacrifices on that tragic morning, that would take place two years later, after our cruise. Lady Liberty was also a treat to sail by, and the whole NY Harbor scene... was a bonus.
We sailed first to Halifax, NS, and then out to sea to hopefully rendezvous with the rising sun, already eclipsed in the partial phase. Totality would take place with the sun just 15 degrees above the ocean. While in Halifax, we had a weather update from Joe Rao (NYC meteorologist and one of the organizers of the cruise). The weather had a good chance of providing a window of clarity on the morning of the eclipse...and the excitement was building. Could the "ship of fools " be the first to view this eclipse ? Here is a Joe's report on the cruise:

We awoke at sea, and most folks had their alarms set...early. The seas were calm, and the sky was clear, accept for a few clouds on the horizon. To view the crescent sun rising over the water, was an experience I won't ever forget (see seen looking through one of the ship's lifeboats). We all experienced totality around an hour later, with the eclipsed sun looking like a large sunflower hanging over the water. The corona was smaller than the '98 eclipse I witnessed on Aruba....but it seemed alive and moving....what a sight ! I kept my word to myself and just recorded a short video with the camcorder, and took in the rest of the short totality with just my eyes, until the diamond ring flashed , prompting the entire ship to cheer and rejoice at witnessing the event. It turns out that the eclipse chasers were clouded out on land, in Cornwall, UK...and also in some other spots after the shadow made landfall in mainland Europe. It was seen in full by many, in Turkey, and on the Black Sea cruise.
The cruise was again, a pleasure. We still had another 7 days to enjoy Newfoundland and our ports of call and time at sea. Whale and sea bird watching was superb. In addition to be treated to daily watching with Canadian expert Jon Lien (a great guy), we took a whale watching tour around Bird Island, where we witnesses close up views of Humpback and Minke whales, a large Atlantic Puffin colony, and countless other treats. On one warm night, while the ship cruised off the east coast of Newfoundland...the deck was suddenly bombarded with Leach's Storm Petrels...that might have been attracted to the ships lights, and were laying all over the deck. Most of them were stunned after hitting the ship...and woke up and flew off. One that didn't ..I picked up and brought to my cabin, and photographed. The flash woke it up, and I gently carried the bird out (after showing it to my son and his new friends)...and released it.
My son had completely enjoyed this experience....the eclipse, the cruise and food, and the friends he made, and the fact that I just let him live it up and do what he wanted, which was something he was not used to experiencing, at home. When we ported in St. Johns....we were met by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. We boarded a bus, and were driven to a very dark sky site in rural Newfoundland, where we all had a grand time observing the annual Perseid meter shower, under pristine skies and conditions... another bonus that I'll always remember.
Another place that I won't soon forget...was Gros Morne National Park, on the west side of Newfoundland. This park had stunning scenery, along with moose, beaver, and a tour of the fjords from the waterway, that was fabulous...even though we did get wet. I met David Levy (a well know astronomer, with several comets he discovered...named after him, including the one... Shoemaker -Levy, that fragmented and crashed into Jupiter in 1994). David was a great guy to talk to (and humble), and also gave a very interesting all, in the ships auditorium. It was a pleasure to have him sign a copy of his book for me.
So....I consider myself pretty damn luck to have witnessed these 4 eclipses. I've seen many partials...but none could hold a candle to what I described here.
When does the next one happen ? might ask. Mark this one down on your calenders...ladies and gentleman. August 21, 2017, the moons shadow will start in the pacific and touch first in Oregon...and cut right across our great land, and end up in S. Carolina, before it moves off into the Atlantic. Here is a link to a website with more details:

You won't want to miss it. Be there, or be square. You know I'll be there in the path...somewhere, no matter where I'm living at the time. I need to show one of these to my wife and daughter.
Well, if you miss that one (Please don't)....there is another crossing the US on April 8, 2024 :,_2024

If we are all alive and well, it takes a place right through my area of western NY. Cloud cover might be a problem....but who knows ? We had a great April, this year.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Another rare another province

In 2004, I returned again to the Philippines, to finally marry the girl that I had met and courted for years...much to the delight (and relief) of her family and friends. I asked my fiancee to contact a guide on the next island over (Negros) and arrange a birding trip to try for several species of Babbler, that were endemic to that island. We took a Supercat inter island ferry, and arrived in Dumaguate city. This was the largest city in the southern province of Negros Oriental, and we checked into nice 4 star hotel. The atmosphere was even more laid back, than in Cebu (which was hard.... even for me, to fathom), the the cost of being a tourist was very reasonable , and right up my alley. We traveled on our own, to a resort coastal town called "Bais", where we arranged a tour for whale and dolphin watching. We didn't see any whales, but had a fantastic experience with a pod of over 100 Spinner Dolphins following the boat and leaping out of the water...everywhere, much to our delight. I was even able to do some birding at one of the stops, and saw a male Narcissus Flycatcher (a migrant species from the more northern parts of Asia) that came to the edge of one of the coastal mangroves.
Our guide was Rene, and was "the guy" for birding on Negros Oriental. He picked us up from our hotel in the wee hours, and we drove through the still dark streets of Dumaguate, riding shotgun with my fiancee, on a Habal -Habal (a large motorcycle with an over sized seat). The ride was rough (what did I expect ?) , even for RP standards...the dirt road turned into big rocks, and we decided to walk, the last 2 kilometers, while our guide braved the motocross suicide course, with the habal. We had ascended to a high elevation near the base of one of the smaller peaks of Mt. Talinas, that was still below the famous "Cueros de Negros" (the twin horns at the top of Talinas). From there, it was a grueling hike uphill. We passed a very bad tempered Carabao (Water Buffalo) that surprised me, and was tied to a tree that I wanted to make a pass around. I narrowly escaped with my ass intact (Thank God for a short rope). When we arrived (winded) at the last leg of the hike, up to the cloud forest near the summit, we took a needed rest. Rene pointed out an area where the Negros Striped Babbler is often seen, while foraging at an elevation (only at these elevations) of between 1000 and 1400 meters . To reach this area, it was a steep climb, that at times was almost straight up. My future bride and the Rene showed no up I went, right behind. Finally, Rene pointed out an area of overhanging trees , and we heard the calls of the endemic species. Rene strongly motioned us over... to come quickly. Myself, my fiancee, and Rene...witness a pair of these magnificent montaine birds in the act of mating, right on a tree branch in front of us. I was the first foreigner that Rene had brought up witness this, and it was only the second time for Rene...that had been coming to the mountain, since he was a young teenager. Rene was a former hunter of birds (for food and profit), that has turned into a guide and conservationist of birds, and other species native to the area.
I also got a brief look (and heard the wonderful song of) at another of the endemic rarities...a Flame-templed Babbler. On the decent down the mountain, we got a little banged up. I went down the steepest part like an upside down crab (on all fours), slipping many times, in addition to getting hit on the head and cut by a broken branch, bitten all over by ants, and sported some black and blue ankles, from trying to slow myself down and digging in with my hiking boots. Rene had spotted the very bizarre looking Philippine Frogmouth, a nocturnal species , that was trying to blend in was a branch (looking frozen in a part of the branch). We were very relieved to reach a more gradual descent...and wondered.... how the hell Rene could make the grueling hike and climb , in his bare feet. He told us a story, on how he once (for hire) carried a generator up to the cloud forest that a German lepidopterist could collect moth species (for study).
Rene took us to his home, that was also a sanctuary for the local wildlife, and a rehabilitation center for several species of fruit bat, that he let me hold and see close up. Being licked all over by a (recovering from injury) giant Gold-crowned flying fox...was a humbling experience.
My hat is off ...always, to Rene....who lead us on a great adventure, and that has taken the lead as a a land where conserving it's precious flora and fauna resources, is a relatively new trend (but is finally catching on). We were treated again, to seeing and hearing many species of birds, herps, bats, insects and butterflies. Not to mention...a tremendous view of the southern part of the province, the city and harbor, and three closet islands...from up at our highest view near the summit.
We returned by ferry, to time for our wedding. We were tired and a bit battered, but satisfied from fresh memories of the experiences, we won't forget.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The story of witnessing... two rare birds

In January of 1999, I found myself once again in the Philippines. What can I say... other than those islands , people, and culture... is a magnet for me.
While there, visiting family in Cebu, I was able to make arrangements (while at the Cebu zoo) to be guided to one of the most protected and pristine areas of old growth forest, left on the island. There is not much of the original forest left (although quite a bit of second growth), and Cebu was almost completely deforested by poor management practices and logging destruction, that escalated after the end of WWII, up until the late '80s. No doubt, the rarest bird in the RP, and one of the rarest on the planet...was the endemic Cebu Flowerpecker, that was thought to be extinct, until rediscovered in a fragmented patch of forest, in 1992. Another rarity and endemic species of Cebu...was the elusive Cebu Black Shama, which was another species I was hoping to see, that sulked within the bamboo thickets of the park. We were driven from the zoo, out of the city.... to the Central Cebu Natl. Park, about 3 hours away, and a place called "Tabunan". Like many drives in the rural areas of the RP ( "the PI " is no longer a politically correct term to I've heard....yawn.), the road was wide enough for one and a half vehicles (or one bus), in very poor condition, and with no guard rails on the steeper mountain roads. After getting one of the rides of my life, and a greater respect for the driver's skills...we arrived in a valley that was surrounded by mountains, with one being the infamous Mt. Manunggal, where the former president Magsaysay (and 25 0thers) had met a tragic end in a plane crash. While the driver parked the vehicle, we were soon greeted by at least a dozen locals from the squatter homesteads, that speckled the hillside. We walked from there (mostly uphill), and around to the adjacent side of the mountain, until we arrived at the forest ranger's station, and home, at the edge of the forest. We were introduced, and chatted... while the ranger's wife and daughter prepared our box lunch, for the trip in. The path into the forest was wet, muddy, and at times very difficult hiking. After an hour plus hike...we arrived at a very crude makeshift platform, that was constructed overlooking the treetop canopy, to a valley below. The bamboo structure was more solid then it appeared, and the two of us were soon sitting comfortable at the top...after we were told by the ranger (the guide and driver stayed behind, back at the ranger's house...a little strange, yes... but it's the RP) that this was the spot , to see the flowerpecker...if we were indeed , lucky. It looked like rain was coming (again), but it held off while we ate, and I scanned the forest treetops intensely , and had brought a recording, of what the bird sounded like (call) , so I could possibly ID it first, by sound. If you've ever birded in the RP, you must have a recording to play in the thick tangles and forests, or you're not going to lure anything out into sight, and probably not see too much... except for the more common birds. The ranger left, and said he'd be back for us in a few hours for us, and wished us a special good luck in spotting the bird. Experienced birders from all over the world, had spent many hours, and even days on the platform...and never saw it. Experience really didn't matter much here...but luck certainly did. Fortunately for us, we were two of the lucky ones...that did. I first heard the call from behind me, and then saw something fly fast onto a branch near the canopy top (just below us). Scanning for a minute or so, I found myself looking at the colorful species, and easily confirmed the sighting by passing the binoculars to my very good friend...that after a short while, was looking at it, also. I got one more quick look, before the bird took off from it's canopy foraging, to another spot farther away and out of view. On our return walk back to the ranger station, we searched the bamboo thicket outskirts, after the ranger (a very talented guy that could mimic the call of the bird) skillfully called out a Black Shama, to the edge of the thicket. The skies finally let go, and we took cover under a large tree. It was another hour before we had the chance to briefly see the shama...that hopped out onto the path for a moment, before skitishly retreating back into the thicket. Wet and tired, I was very pleased to sign out on the log at the ranger station, and date the time I witnessed these rare birds...that many have not seen. I logged in seeing 19 species of birds (11 that were lifers), 2 species of herps, one species of giant fruit bat (flying fox), plus one species of horseshoe bat, and countless new insects and butterflies.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Woodknocks, woodpeckers, a boreal bog, and blackflies

From the early '90s, until just a few years ago...I was on a quest to see all of the boreal species of birds that can be found, and breed in NY state. They are a specialty of the Adirondack region...where there is boreal forest and bog habitat . I keep a bird life list database of species seen, from both N. America and birding has always been a passion, and a good form of relaxation, that goes together naturally with a road trip and camping...which are also things I am very fond of.
There was one species that had eluded me (American Three-toed Woodpecker) , and was very difficult to locate in the field...despite going often into the right habitats and following the Northern NY bird list postings, that often provided up to date info on recent sightings of the species...which was quite rare. Why didn't I just travel further north into Canada, or to the northern mid west in the US to see make it easier to locate.... with abundant boreal habitat ? Well, I wanted to see it here, in NY State, where it was at the southern extremes of it's known range, located in isolated pockets of boreal bog habitat. One of the places that the bird was sighted, and had easy access to...was in Hamilton Co. , in the Adirondack Park. It was a preserve that was purchased and maintained by the Nature Conservancy (of whom I am an avid supporter), and had road access to a foot trail that led into the bog...that was located in between several small mountains, and hills. It was a beautiful and isolated spot, with just a few cottages on the seasonal dirt road, that was miles from the nearest town. In May of 2005, there were many reports of a female 3-toed that was being seen , associating with another boreal woodpecker species (Black-backed), that is a bit more common. I spent almost a week camping in the area, and made numerous trips to the bog, often in the company of many other birders...that were waiting out in the hopes of spotting this elusive bird. There was one morning, that the constructed board walk into the bog...was so crowded, that there was no more room to set up a scope and scan. I waited it out until late afternoon, and found myself with one other group of older man with his entire family. The man had on white rubber knee boots, and had a very unpleasant surly attitude when I got a little closer , and tried to speak with him. He gave me the vibes that he would have much more success...if me, and everyone else (but him, and his family) left. I figured out quickly.... by his boots, and attitude...that he had intentions of tromping off the boardwalk (where you are supposed to stay) , and into the bog searching for the bird. The rare plant life and protected species in this bog, does not fare well to foot traffic....thus, the reason why the boardwalk was constructed. Before I walked away, I reminded him of the dangers (falling through and drowning) of walking on sphagnum moss and bog, and the fragile rare flora and fauna he would trample. I decided to go to the other end of the boardwalk, but remained there (not out of spite) until late afternoon. The next morning, I ran into several other birders....that , yes... saw the 3-toed an hour after I left, the day before. I went home not seeing the species, and a bit discouraged, but looking forward to another chance, sometime.
In June of 2007, a former park ranger that lives in the closest town to the bog, sent me a heads up email, after reading my posts on the list from the previous season. He had seen the female, and also a male 3-Toed, still in association with a pair of Black-back WPs....the day before. I made some spur of the moment arrangements to travel, after work, and reached the dirt road and tiny parking area just after dark. I cooked up a little supper, and took a stroll down the road, and noticed no one was up there yet( in the couple cottages) during my walk. I decided to sleep in my vehicle, and hike into the bog at first light. At around 4 am, I was awoken by a rather loud sound, that had startled me. I was laying in my sleeping bag, with the rear window cracked enough to hear outside. A short time later, I heard a loud sharp "crack", that sounded like a ball being hit off a bat, or wood striking wood kind of sound. I went for my sidearm, to have at the ready...thinking this might have been someone close in the forest, behind my vehicle. While doing this, I heard a fainter two knock set of the same sound...that seemed to come from down in the bog, behind my vehicle. I slowly sat up, thinking "what's going on here....who could be walking around doing this chopping , at 4 in the morning". I then heard another clear sharp "crack" knock just behind my vehicle, that I estimate was no further than 100 feet away...if that. I went into my backpack for my audio recording gear, but by the time I got it assembled... the knocking had stopped. This event, later caused me to Google search woodknocks, and was the beginnings of me associating that incident, with possible sasquatch activity, that had been reported throughout the Adirondack Park. I eventually filed a report with several organizations. While one group published the report, the other did not...but did have an investigator, phone me.
I eventually joined the group that published my report (NESRA), and seemed to take it with a serious, but friendly approach. The next morning, I was up and onto the bog trail at first light, and recorded some Pileated Woodpecker drumming (that was Not what I heard knocking in the overnight), and a fantastic Winter Wren chorus. When I reached the boardwalk, I first spotted the pair of Black-backs in a large dead tree...and then, much to my delight...was a female Am. 3-toed just a few yards from me, foraging on a smaller tamarack tree next to the boardwalk. I got a good look, but the bird flew off out into the bog, and I wanted another look. When I walked out further and came into the open out of the trees...something large crashed through the trees on the east side of the bog, and I could hear the sounds of breaking limbs as it moved up the hill out of the bog. All went silent, and I continued to search for the 3-Toed, which I never did relocate. What ever crashed through the trees seemed large, by sound. It could have been a moose, or a bear, or a deer. I never got a visual on anything, while looking with my binoculars, and later with my spotting scope. I never walked around to investigate the area, that would have been a great spot to search for tracks. I was now getting swarms of Blackflies. I had a head net, and put it on. By the time I realized what was happening.... it was too late, and decided to get out of the bog, after I saw the blood running down my legs and neck. When I reached my vehicle, the flies in the air and around my head were almost gone, but there were still many biting my neck under the mesh, and my wrists and ankles (I had long sleeved clothes on). I drove home sporting a very swollen bite collar, on my neck, ankles, and wrists...with a few of the cursed buggers still in the truck (and going for me) that followed me in. It felt good that I had finally gotten a look at the Three-toed WP, and pulled over in the town , to check out my wounds, and grab some breakfast. The waitress gave me "the look", and probably knew I was one of those folks from "not around here" that didn't know enough to stay out of those places, during the blackfly season. As the Brits might say, ...I was quite a bloody mess. As far as what could have possibly done the wood on wood sounding knocks...well, it probably wasn't a person, but I can't really rule it out 100%. It wasn't a forest animal, because it would have needed hands, and could not hold a knocker with paws or hooves....right?. It wasn't a night. Trees don't (to my knowledge) make that sound on their own, on a calm still night in the spring. So, what does that leave...for sources ?? Whatever it was that crashed through the trees, and out of the bog that early morning...I'll probably never know.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Still .... a mystery sound

Like many others that do audio recording in the field, I have developed a growing collection of unknown mystery sounds. I try with all my resources available, to identify the sound or call, so it can be filed away in the known sounds category...and used for future reference, should it show up again on mine, or any other researchers recording.
In September of 2008, myself and two old friends, camped out on state forest lands in Steuben Co., NY, near the Canisteo River valley. We found a spot used by fisherman, next to a large pond. I parked the vehicle, and we unloaded, gathered our gear, and trail blazed around the pond to find a very nice secluded spot in the woods, that was still within view and easy walk to the pond. We lazed by the pond, ate a lot, and I made some audio recordings (soundscapes) of the insects, frogs and bird life around the pond. Here is one of those recordings:

The night sky was very dark, and the late summer Milky Way was easy to reveal. The best sky I have seen all year ! As an added treat, the ISS (International space station) came into view and moved almost right overhead before disappearing in front of us low on the horizon ...super luck and unexpected !
In the overnight, while the last two of us awake were preparing to get into our tents and turn in, we heard a lower pitched moaning call, that came from the opposite side of the pond. I scrambled to try to record it...but the call ended before I got the recorder started. Another example of a missed opportunity...because I didn't have a recorder on...All of the time. Several hours later, I woke up and heard the same moaning call again. This time, I got the last part (4 separate moans) of the vocalizations recorded. The recorded clip starts out immediately during one of these moans (each, lasting just over a second, in length), and then the others are heard, with the space in between the sounds...relatively, the same. Also, there is a higher pitched type of squeak, in between the 1st and 2nd moans. Unfortunately, my camping buddy (the infamous Floodman) let go with a smokers cough, during the 2nd be ready for that, if you decide to listen. Here is the clip:

Ok, here is what we knew was around us, that night..... Barred Owl, GH Owl, WT Deer, and a family of Beaver, on the pond. No people, other than us...were there. I have not matched up these sounds with any of those (or any known) critters...although, I could be missing something, and that's why other opinions are always welcome and encouraged. Barred Owl has been on my mind...but I can say that I've never heard one produce that kind of sound, before.
One of my fellow NESRA investigators, provided me with the following clip (the moaning call of a Bull Moose)...that was interesting, and matched up... the closet, to anything that I've been able to find, yet. Here is that clip for comparison:

Was my recorded clip, a more distant moose call ? The characteristics of the sounds are similar, but I'm not yet 100% convinced. When I ask some associates I know, that are lifetime residents of the Finger Lakes and southerntier region of western NY.....about their opinion.... if it is possible that moose could now inhabit that region...they just laugh. But they also laugh when I talk to them about sasquatch roaming the forests in NY (or elsewhere), who knows? I think it's possible that this could be a moose call. Moose have wandered and breed much further south than the Adirondack Park, in NY...and also east and south into the New England states. There is no current data to support that they are present , however.... in western NY. I think it is also possible that these sounds could have been distorted over the warmer pond air currents...making it all the more tricky for ID, and possibly a distorted one note call variation of a Barred Owl. Maybe, this is something else, that I have no idea, or reference too...yet.
Opinions on these short moaning calls , are welcome...and that's the reason I'm blogging it. I probably won't stop asking for opinions, until I find out what made these sounds.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The value of audio field opinion

I think that unknown sounds recorded in the field, do hold some value...for not just the listeners and recordists, at present...but possibly for the future, of the research and investigation into the sasquatch phenomenon. I have to agree with the general opinion of the BF community...that it doesn't offer any indisputable solid proof, and should be considered as "trace evidence". There seems to be a lot more of these recordings collected, than any good photographic or video evidence. If we can't see and witness what's making the howls, screams, chatter, strange speech like sounds, grunts, whistles, mimic like sounds, pops, percussion, and wood knocks in areas that have a history of strange activity and sightings....then how we do know it's squatch ? I hate to answer a question with another question...but, than...what exactly is this.... that IS making these sounds out in the woods and remote forests? This is one of the things.... that I aim, to try and find out.
Putting out an audio recorder, and leaving it out for the overnight...has given me the most results, so far. This was not my idea, but one I adopted from the success of other researchers that have come up with some very interesting unknown vocalizations, using this method. It makes sense to me , that a creature (whether known ones or an unknown) is going to open up and act more natural and vocalize in it's habitat...when I'm not around, and it feels the need to watch me, instead of going about it's normal business. I've been working on methods to record for longer periods of time, and know there are others that have been successful at this.
Sharing any interesting results of the recordings, seems to be even more tricky, than actually doing the recording, itself. There is some interest on the forums, and I have tried to make an effort to find others that want to share, and encourage the recordists that are still in the come forward and share. I've had limited success within the community. Sometimes it seems to me, that groups of folks share within their own friendly circles. I guess this is just human nature, and it's unfortunately...the way it is. I'm just as guilty of doing the same thing the public eye, with others that I've met on various forums, although I've shared everything I thought was interesting, to this point. If you share too much, and speak openly about your true experiences (especially if you've had a couple, close together)... it seems you are up for a credibility folks that are somehow capable, of judging others field experiences, from behind their computer screens....amazing stuff. I watched a group from Michigan share some very highly produced field recordings, that unfortunately.... ended up getting to be a really ugly mess. I don't care why it got ugly, and who was at fault, for whatever reasons.... as the history of most of that fiasco ... predates me in the forum community. I am only interested in the recordings themselves, and don't believe they are going away, anytime soon...although the folks that put up the recordings, seem to have taken a break from the spotlight, for now. These recordings could possibly hold value for the future, and I am not accepting any verdict of them being deemed a hoax...quite yet. We'll just have to wait, and see. I can't help but think, that the whole rather unpleasant scene, from what just started out as a link to a website, for listening and reading.... did not in anyway... encourage others to share field recordings, on forums.
What is this so called value that I speak of, anyway? Comparisons to known animal and human sounds, is all we have right now. We also have comparisons to each others unknown field recorded sounds. If the same unknown (yet to be identified sound) has been recorded in NY, and also in NC, Ohio, and Texas...for example, then that makes it all the more interesting...for me... in my mind. Proof of squatch running around out of Something unknown out there...yes. Could it be a known animal in all these locales, making the similar... unknown vocals ? about the wood knocks and percussive sounds?...not likely.
If and when, the holy grail squatch remains are ever found (providing, the right people find them)...they will tell us what this creature is, and finally be the accepted proof needed, to end this mystery, and force mainstream science to acknowledge the existence of the creature that so many people have witnessed. So what would be the next step ? Big game hunters (private or govnt sponsored) out to capture a live one, for study?....good luck, to you. Will this change the way science thinks, and the theories on primate, human, and hominid evolution, and life as we know it? Well, first..... it would help, to be able to observe and study a live one. How could you ever hope to protect something, that you really don't know diddly.... about, what it's doing out there ? What troubles after the dust settles, and the big hype dies down.....that these remains still won't tell us much about the vocalizations it made while it was alive, and if it can knock on trees and push them over, make percussive sounds, mimic other animals and humans and machines. Maybe (just maybe)... the audio recordings will hold more of a value (to everyone) at that time. A library of unknown sounds and vocals, as a database....noting the geographic location, time, and circumstances during the recording.
So, while you're out there searching for ye pot of gold, and that indisputable proof that the creature does exist....what will it hurt to put out an audio recorder, and just walk away?
Blogs are created to express one's opinions...and of course ....these, are just mine.