Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Waiting for the migration

Dark clouds to the west and cool air has yielded to a perfectly fine day, partly cloudy with beautiful cumulus clouds. I paddle up from my usual big lake starting point in the calmest of winds from the NE. It is just enough to ripple the surface of the water, just enough to remove the mirror image of the sky.

I pick seven tennis balls from the water near the bridge and then head into the bay. There seems to be no migratory bird additions since my last visit here, but I know, or perhaps I sense, that an eagle is near. I follow the east shore and watch the tree tops and favorite perches, but I find no eagle. Then, high overhead, in the NE corner of the bay, comes the eagle circling. It is catching good air and only rarely does it flap its wings. It is there, as I thought, as I sensed.

I move past the bony knockdown tree that is the Railroad Island perch. The strong fall light of today strikes the bare wood harshly and makes it appear just that much more like bone. Cormorants were here on my last visit, but as coot hunting season begins for the eagles, the cormorants will find safer places to reside.

All is calm in the NE lagoon, as it always has been. Coots and turtles are sunning and a female mallard dabbles under the edges of lily pads just a few yards from my right shoulder. It is the sound that your fingers make if you wiggle them quickly on the surface of the water. The mud banks aren't exposed yet, the water still at a mid-height. It won't be long until I pull out the high rubber boots and begin hunting for animal tracks.

As I leave, a second eagle circles. With both in the air, I can tell, by the enormous size of the female, that these are the resident pair from the NE nest.

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