Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Silver Trails

Snow Dust on the Ranch
Active Pond, Once Again
Diverse Crowd, Hood on the Right
Silver Trails
Silver trails like the water vapor that marks the passing of an airplane in a blue sky have appeared across Elmira Pond. A skiff of snow dusts the ranch, and at first glance the silver trails seem like the edge of pond ice.

Except that the trails are moving.

It's been so long since I've had an excuse to grab the binoculars, I almost forget the pattern of bird watching. They are back! They are back! I grab my red flannel bathrobe, step into Todd's white tennis shoes by the west door and I slip-slide-regain-balance down the icy porch step and onto the snow-crusted grass.

Todd and the dogs are surprised to see me shuffle-running (the best I can do in big shoes and slick ground) across the pasture toward the pond. Even now the apple tree is my best viewing vantage. I am so excited to see the...oh, for pete's sake what are they...not ringed-necks, not wigeons...

"Todd," I shout to my husband who is watching with the dogs from between the two wood barns, "What are our visitors?"

"Buffleheads," he shouts back.

No they aren't. I look through the binoculars, snap photos with my camera, zoom, they are not buffleheads. "No," I say.

"Uh-huh," he says. It's starting to sound familiar, this argument over who our migratory visitors are. We debate white versus black feathers, head shape and diving patterns. It's when I see them dive I remember. Some are hooded mergansers. I am so delighted, as in all-day delighted.

Each time I step outside or go to the window, there they are, making silver trails. Gliding, diving, devouring fish, they almost seem famished. Actually, Todd is right--there are at least two male buffleheads in the group and a few other ducks we can not seem to identify. One seems to have a "shoveling" beak.

How lonely the pond has felt. I thought our spring visitors had passed us by on the way home, south. Perhaps the small squall brought them here; maybe it's the shorter days. Whatever the reason, I am savoring the silver trails across Elmira Pond.

No comments:

Post a Comment