While admittedly mostly a psychological victory, there definitely was a sense that a hurdle had been overcome by successfully closing the books on 2020 and welcoming a new year.
|Speaking of "eyes wide open," check out this stare . . . mink always look like they got caught with their paw in the cookie jar when you finally get them on film. This is one of the better ones we've been able to capture (credit: Roy)|
It's not that last year was terrible from a professional perspective at the marsh (it could have been a whole lot worse), but the reverberations of the pandemic were (and are) certainly being felt at Standing Rush: understandable but still difficult uncertainty surrounding future funding opportunities; dramatically reduced visitation to the property; significantly less direct educational outreach (although there is definitely some neat stuff on the near-term horizon that was hatched during the current academic year); limited contractor interaction . . . the list could go on.
But the bottom line is we continued to make progress, even if it was not at the pace we have grown accustom. And there are signs of light at the end of the public health tunnel. So we just need to keep the faith and keep trudging forward with our eyes wide open.
|Skim ice was about as much as we could muster in January, with 26 of 31 daytime highs above freezing in Bay View; this made for good conditions for the "puddlers" to keep puddling.|
|Another typical early winter scene in the Rest Pond.|
|Gotta love this many swans -- probably a combination of trumpeters and tundras.|
|Partial evidence as to what continued to draw ducks, geese, and swans to the Rest Pond -- click to zoom in to see the mass of (nutritious) soft-stem bulrush seed, still floating on the water surface in January.|
|Not all photos have to be National Geographic quality to be cool -- six sandhill cranes stopped by to get in on the action.|
|Just to confirm Roy wasn't just having fun, dike maintenance continues|
|And just like that, Mr. Mink is gone again . . .|