Monday, November 22, 2010


I wake to a 1/2 inch of snow and rush my breakfast and coffee, grab my gear and drop down to Portage Bay. No ice in this spot, yet, but the cattails and the beaver lodge are beautifully decked in white.

In the crossing under place, the wind is in my face, cold and raw. But, I find the flock of common mergansers that I saw yesterday. So, the full contingent of migratories is now present.

I tuck into the south lagoon, mostly to get out of the wind. Ducks are going about their business as usual, but other creatures are lying low. As I stop to pour a cup of coffee it begins to snow hard, and I just sit and watch nothing happen at the usual rate.

An insecure hooded merganser showing off to the wood ducks

I work up north through the burial island channel, a wooded hallway now filled with falling snow. When I get to the bay, the wind in my face draws me straight across. Outlines of north shore trees are visible through the snow, but details are not. At least not until halfway, when I spot an eagle hunting. It circles, dips, feints, hovers, circles again and on until, finally, it drops to the water and pauses for a moment, a sign of success as the moment is the eagle fastening its talons and killing its prey. Then it rises, and with a bit more effort than normal, flies low across the water to the railroad island.

1 comment:

Richard Powell said...

You are a good man to brave those conditions. The beauty seems to bite more when the wind is bitter.

I saw 4 trumpeter swans fly over low while I was on my walk today. In that moment, I felt a bit more alive.