Aki and I have the Outer Point Trail to ourselves this morning. I’m a little surprised given that we are enjoying another warm, sunny day. I am more surprised by the appearance of a pair of mallards just a few feet away on the beaver pond. Lit up by the early morning sun, the drake looks like it was painted by Michelangelo. Even the hen looks stunning. Aki, why do I take mallards for granted?
I expect the mallards to take flight but they hold their ground. While the male watches us, the hen stretches and preens her feathers. Maybe they will nest on the pond after the ice melts and opens up the remote parts of the little water body. The jackhammer sound of a sapsucker draws us away from the mallards. The little woodpecker is as hard to spot as the mallards were not.
We work our way out to the beach and are surprised again by ducks. This time it’s harlequins. The little clowns jockey for position on the water, like they are settling in for another summer. I thought that they’d be on the outer coast by now.
Aki ignores all the ducks but is quick to react to the arrival of a dog on the beach. She and the new guy sniff and chase each other for a minute and then form a team to case the beach for smells. It takes the other dog’s owner a long time to convince him to rejoin her.
Aki’s new friend must have flushed the mallards from the beaver pond. We find them hunting for food on a sluggish stream deep in the forest. Again, they ignore the little dog and I. Rather than take offense, I am pleased at this exhibition of trust.