The Table is Set


The tide is out so the table is set for the scavengers of the Fish Creek Delta. Aki and I startle a bald eagle into flight when we break out of the woods. It flies towards us and then makes a panicked turn toward the safety of a spruce tree. I wonder if Aki took heart in this show of vulnerability from a bird that normally would make him seek shelter.

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Cotton-ball fog hangs over the spruce-covered islands and obscures our view of glaciers and mountains. Hundreds of mallards fish, head buried in water, just off the beach. Three red-breasted mergansers plow the waters a hundred feet further out. None of the ducks take any notice of the little dog and I until the curving trail brings us too close. Even then they only fly out to a nearby sand bar.

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The mallards make a lot of noise as they relocate. Aki appears to take no notice. I once had a terrier that loved to flush ducks off a beach. I am thankful that the poodle-mix is so reserved around waterfowl.\

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The ducks stir a large flock of shore birds (semipamated plovers?) into flight but soon they return to feeding. The delta gulls seem immune to panic. But one flies over to a pair of its kind to see if they have found something to fight over. It glides with the grace of a well-bred princess and then crashes into the water.  On a windy day it would have dropped, helicopter-like, onto the water. Today it lands like a student failing his first flight test.

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