No Break For The Birds

The heavy rain that is flooding this moraine trail and soaking my pants doesn’t seem to be slowing down the pine siskins. Thirty of the small birds just settled onto an alder. They bounced when they landed on the alder branches then begin attacking something with their small but powerful beaks. They must be after the alder’s tightly wrapped leaf buds. 

          A bald eagle, its feathers rumpled by the rain, watches the siskins from its perch in a nearby cottonwood tree. Then it turns back toward the river. A few branches away, a long-tailed magpie watches the watcher. Maybe the magpie is hoping that the eagle will lead it to a deer carcass or some other source of food.

           The little dog and I walk on. I want to circle Moose Lake and be back in the car before Aki starts to shiver. A few weeks ago some swans rested on the lake before continuing their southern migration. This morning I can only three bufflehead ducks. The black and white head of the male duck makes it the easiest to spot. 

          We spook two mallards to flight just before leaving the lake. The two drakes had been sheltering from the rain in a tangle of shore side alders. When they took off they filled the air with drops of the rain that had accumulated on their feathers. 

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