Friday, April 11, 2014

Spring heads north

Today there were quite a few bluebills (scaup) on the South Pool of the Sunrise Unit of Carlos Avery . Wood ducks and scaup were mixed on one of the local ponds. I assume the woodies will become locals and the scaup are following open water to their breeding grounds north of here.

Scaup on the South Pool
Scaup on the South Pool               © harrington

As far as I've been able to discover, this area isn't noted for bluebills during the autumn duck season. I've read speculation that many (most?) of them skip over Minnesota these days as they head south.
Janet Holmes' poem, Birding, in Where One Voice Ends, isn't about waterfowl, but her observation that "wild isn't always where you want it seems to me to be spot on.

Janet Holmes


Some pursue quantity, a lifelist
personalized to the range and predilections
of a patient soul with binoculars angled up,
pencil ready, the mind's handy abacus
poised to click the next accumulation;
some seek particular birds
that return each year, old regulars
sentimental about their habits;
some just want the exotic,
the deep hues, rich excesses of rainbow
animate and winged and seldom seen.
But wild isn't always where you want it—
off the deck where the siskins fed all winter
framed by the kitchen's glass. You go
upwind of the heap of roadkill
at the highway department's utilitarian lot
where carcasses rot behind the dinosaur plows,
the graders out of season. New habitat.
What's struck by a truck goes back
to its role as provender, as surely
as if wolves patrolled these parts again:
whitetail gone to ribcage, their unaesthetic bones
marking the carnage where flyhatch
happens. Because of the semi
speeding down 61, you scope
warblers spangling the decomposing mound
with their brilliant golds, the crimsons you covet.

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Please be kind to each other while you can.