One of our neighbors saw a hummingbird yesterday hovering over her garden patch. It’s rufus-red breast feathers must have sparkled in the winter sun. Before this news, I had expected another month and a half of waiting for the migrates to show up on the wetlands—longer until we hear the first robin sing. Wild animals, especially those that will starve if they mistime their migrations, must have some fine insight into seasons and weather patterns. Aki and I are walking toward the mouth of Fish Creek, looking for confirmation of the hummingbird’s prediction that winter is dead.
We get little help from the wild rose and berry bushes covered with frost and still bare of spring growth. Ice covers the pond and much of the slower-moving portions of the creek. At the creek mouth, where transient ducks and geese often rest on their way north, we only find the usual crowd. There’s a cabal of crows hanging out with bored looking gulls. Just offshore, resident mallards grumble about our presence. In the middle of Fritz Cove, two mature bald eagles roost on the Number 21 channel marker.
Another eagle pair watches us emerge from the trail. One seems to be lecturing the other one, who slowly moves away from its noisy companion, like a guy getting yelled out for doing nothing when the nest needs mending. Eagles mate for life. Maybe the one yelling also saw the hummingbird.