Sunday, October 23, 2016

Gettin' a move on #phenology

Last evening the Better Half and I were driving north from Osceola to St. Croix Falls and noticing the beautiful sunset. That was about the time we were passing through Dresser. We then saw several large flocks of geese high in the air. They were somewhere between the upper limit for local feeding flights and the lower limit for migrating flocks. Then, we noticed some large flocks still feeding in the fields. About the time we reached St. Croix Falls and crossed the river to Taylors Falls, we spotted a couple more flocks in the far distance over Minnesota. These were definitely high enough that they were most likely migrating from somewhere, but where? And why?

Autumn sunset
Autumn sunset
Photo by J. Harrington

I haven't heard of any major freezes or storms north of us, so I'm not sure what would be moving geese south from open water and food. Maybe these flocks read the reports about the upcoming Polar Vortex?  I do know that seeing several large, high flocks made this old waterfowler's heart patter with happiness. If you're not sure why that might be, let me suggest you read some Gordon MacQuarrie Stories of The Old Duck Hunter or Gene Hill's A Hunter's Fireside Book.

a high pair of Canada geese
a high pair of Canada geese
Photo by J. Harrington

Leaves have been dropping and blowing today. The wind is starting to have a bite to it. It's going to be a fine evening for home baked sourdough bread and chicken with wild rice soup. Last night the Daughter Person and Son-In-Law had friends over for pumpkin carving festivities. As Summer undergoes a belated departure, real Autumn is shaping up nicely. We'll let the waterfowl migrate while we stick around to see what happens next.

The Geese


By Jane Mead


slicing this frozen sky know
where they are going—
and want to get there.

Their call, both strange
and familiar, calls
to the strange and familiar

heart, and the landscape
becomes the landscape
of being, which becomes

the bright silos and snowy
fields over which the nuanced
and muscular geese

are calling—while time
and the heart take measure.


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