Sunday, December 6, 2009

One Swan

It has been seasonably cold, not that it is always like this, but at some time during all winters, it is. I start at the south lagoon, which is partly frozen. The ice is only 5/8 inch at the thickest, so the canoe moves through with out too much difficulty. The ducks that like to winter in this patch of water have had to move elsewhere. These are dabblers mostly, mallards, widgeons, northern shovelers and so forth. I pick sheets of ice up and look through it like window glass. It is good smooth ice and would make good skating if it were a few inches thick. Exiting the east channel of the burial island, an eagle flies by heading north. A second one follows soon, but swings around back to the south and lands at the old nest that I spotted last year. Perhaps that nest will be used this year. As soon as I get to the north edge of the marsh I spot a swan 3/4 of a mile across the bay, and as I coast a few yards, a bald eagle appears just 10 yards to my right sitting on a log in the water. I am downwind and it is obviously eating a fish. I head across the bay and let the boat drift into the NE lagoon where a heron stands watch. Then, west past the swan - there is only one, I thought that I might find some immature gray swans. The grays are harder to spot from a distance. All of the birds are focused and behaving as if a storm is approaching. I return using the shelter of the west islands. The wind has been coming up since I started. It is cold enough that I wear gloves for the first time this season.

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