Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Migration really underway

Last night I could smell the rain that is to come. Four days of it are predicted. Flocks of Canada geese were moving, honking and honking and honking as they headed north. They were the last thing I saw and heard before I went to bed and nearly the first again when I got up this morning. The geese know that rain is coming, I am sure, so they are moving to try and get ahead of the storm or at least to get in one more full day of flight before the rains begin.

This week’s temperatures have decimated the snow. Even here on the mountain I am down to some extended patches of it, but patches nonetheless. At dusk last evening, Baby Dog set up such a cry that I thought the cabin must surely be under attack by wolves. Instead, I saw 7 deer, delicately wending their way around the patches. They were led by a doe, and following behind her in single file were smaller deer and two more doe. They weren’t skin and bones but they were thin, the smaller deer almost tiny, no doubt fawns from last season. The lead doe tiptoed carefully, as though through a mine field, as she stepped carefully through my back forest. I think she was leading them out of their winter yard and towards someplace with some fresher grazing.

This past weekend, in addition to my trip to Middle Creek, I found some interesting migrants at Pinchot lake. I found two young bad eagles were harassing the waterfowl. I never did decide if the eagles were serious but inept in their swoops on the geese and ducks or if chasing them was simply youthful hijinks on a beautiful day. In any event, the ducks did not appear to be in serious jeopardy but the eagles sure got them moving around and quacking.

My second not so great photo today is of a duck I am calling a female greater scaup because of its nicely rounded head. Although lesser scaup are the more common species inland, they have kind of a pointed head or at least a bump on the back. This one doesn’t, so I’m calling her a greater scaup. Feel free to disagree.


Cathy said...

My vote is that the two eagles were just being smart alecks.

As for the coming rain, not exactly welcome up here. There's fears of flooding due the melting snow and snow that still on the ground. yea, I still have have about 5-6 of snow on my front lawn.

However, the last three day were simply beautiful out!

Carolyn H said...

Cathy: I'm worried about flooding here too. Most if the natural snow is gone, but snow is still on the ski slopes to 3-4 feet deep. I doubt my basement will be dry come Saturday--unless the forecast is just plain wrong.

Carolyn H

Woodswoman Extraordinaire said...

I love the idea of the eagles teasing the waterfowl!

Carolyn H said...

WW: i still can't figure out the eagles' intentions. Their swoops didn't look as though there was a chance to grab a duck but they were swooping persistently. if it was just "fun," I would have guessed they would settle for just a swoop or two and then get tired of the fun quickly. But they swooped at least 8-10 times that I saw. It was fun to watch them scatter the ducks, whatever their intentions.

Carolyn H