Monday, January 19, 2015

waiting for spring

Kah Tai, January 2015, © Artemis Celt.
Although the snowpack isn't what we hope for this time of year, we've had plenty of rain. The lagoon is full and the mudflats have disappeared. Instead of Yellowlegs and Sandpipers in the shallows, we find Buffleheads and Mergansers tucked in among the ever-present Mallards. Two Merganser females (Red-Breasted and Common) allowed photos to document their presence. Coots, Ruddy Ducks, grebes, herons, wigeons, and quite an array of upland birds can be seen, including a Scrub Jay spotted just across the street from the entrance to the park.

Mallards are a personal favorite, simply because they are so personable. They are Kah Tai's best salesmen, or salesbirds; city birds, approachable, vocal and always willing to accomodate a snack. They draw small children and elderly folks to sit on the benches along the edge, to appreciate that the park is here in the middle of town where we all have access. Mallards make the case for the average non-birding people walking through the park, quacking them in to discover Mergansers and Buffleheads and Ruddy Ducks, to witness passerine migrations, to hear the beautiful scream of a Red-tailed Hawk circling above.

In our first winter here, a Snow Goose appeared at the lagoon. She'd apparently missed the migration with her flock, whether due to injury, illness, or inattentiveness she never indicated. The resident Mallards took her in; she joined them in greeting humans in her foreign tongue, and she spent a fine winter being an odd Mallard. In the spring, she was gone.