Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Uncommon Loon

I set out from Pilgrim's Landing just before the turn of the tide, just before the turn of the month, and just before the turn of the age of man.  Ten years ago, my environmentally focused friends predicted a technological fix to climate change.  I knew this would not happen.  It has not, and it will not.  The history of man is little more than looking ahead to the next meal.  Even when most of us became farmers instead of hunters, the foresight went not much farther than the next harvest.  Today, the foresight goes no further than the next quarter's earnings report.  The foresight to address climate change requires thinking ahead a century or more...planning, doing and waiting for a payoff that will not come in one's lifetime.  Few people are built that way, and the power-seekers are most definitely not.
Into Lord's Cove
A splash to my left, probably a fish, but I only see the action of the water.  An osprey to my right drops down out of a tree.  No doubt the osprey has seen everything in the super-detail of a bird's eyesight.  It sweeps over the spot and continues, either not seeing the prey or seeing a prey that is too large.
The day is cool, a cool that I can feel will not last.  There is a wind in my face, a wind that I know will only be at my back when I return from my explorations, and the last of any clouds is already to the east.  My last trip here was as the ice was breaking up and I was blocked by jams and flows from any of the smaller side channels.  That will not be a problem today.

I take a route that follows the side channels, extending the mileage and visiting the smaller places.  I cut through the mystery of Coute's Hole, finding little there but finding my first marsh wren of the spring on the way out.  It chirps once or twice, then drops down into the cattails and goes silent.  It is not yet time to advertise to a mate.

In the farthest out of the arms of the cove, I spy a swan nest while four osprey circle overhead.

Mute swans (invasive)
And then, it becomes paddling among the fiber forest of the marsh, cattails and phragmites passing by, whispering in the wind with the calls of red wing blackbirds punctuating the purpose of a marsh.  It washes the mind just as well as it filters impurities from the water.
Red throated loon
As I enter the big shallow bay on my return, there is a loon ahead.  It seems late for a loon to be here, but a loon it is.  But, the slight size and up-turned bill shows that it is not the more common "common loon", but the smaller red-throated loon finishing its winter and heading north to arctic coastlines.

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