Thursday, March 7, 2019

Stone In Place, But Diving Ducks Steal the Show

A major raft of divers -- mainly redheads and canvasbacks, with trumpeter swans and puddlers in the background
served as a constant distraction during my time at the marsh yesterday

I am happy to report that we are finished placing armor stone on our bay front exterior dike on the West Marsh. After all the preparation, it took three days of hauling, a little over 100 truckloads of limestone, and pretty much the ideal window of late season winter to get the job done. But we did it. Hats off to Roy, the truck drivers, and the excavator operator. Conditions were tough, but we got it done with teamwork. More on this soon, but suffice it to say I'm relieved. Our largest vulnerability has now been dramatically reduced (dare I say, eliminated), at least for the time being.

Time is tight now, but I wanted to share some lively imagery from yesterday's visit. The air and water (what isn't frozen at least) were teaming with waterfowl of all different makes and models. Most notably, redheads and canvasbacks put on a show. The still shots are neat, but the video makes it that much easier to appreciate the density and near-constant motion. I could have watched (and filmed) all day.

My only disappointment was that I couldn't get closer and that my best footage took place when the sun was obscured by passing clouds and snow showers. These birds are magnificent under about any condition, but they are perhaps most breathtaking when their spring plumage contrasts with dark water and fading afternoon light.

The top image and video are predominately redheads (distinguishable by gray upper wings/shoulders, a more abrupt
"forehead,"and a downturned bill that looks like it was dipped in white and then black paint); canvasbacks have a similar
dark cinnamon head, but a broader, more gently sloping forehead and bill (with "canvas" white upper wings/shoulders);
the swans in this shot hint at what a little sunshine can do to a late winter photograph!