South of my home, there is a swath of land that has been designated a migratory bird sanctuary. It provides a variety of habitats, from cattail marshes to mature hardwood forest, and boasts an impressive bird list. There are walking trails and an interpretive centre, and it’s open year-round to visitors at no cost. I have not spent nearly as much time poking around in it as I should since it is only a 20 minute drive from my home.
I was working in my little home office this morning and couldn’t help but notice that it was sunny and warm and FRACKING GORGEOUS outside. So I did what any serious, conscientious grad student would do: I ceremoniously swept the pile of reading off my desk, grabbed my camera and binoculars and hit the road. The sanctuary was calling me.
(Don’t look at me like that, you know you would have done the same.)
The St. Lawrence River demarks the southern limit of the sanctuary. While the shoreline and small inland bodies of water are still largely frozen over, the widest parts are moving freely and welcoming our waterfowl back home for the summer. The Canada Geese are back in droves:
Yep, that’s you guys down there (you know who you are). Heck, we’re practically neighbours!
I spotted my first Mallard Duck pair of the season. They were very suspicious and coy and did not appreciate the paparazzi. The Red-winged Blackbirds have also returned; they filled the air with their cocky KONK-A-REEEEEE, and strutted about the tips of trees and cattails, all “I’m too sexy for my epaulets”. Ring-billed Gulls screamed and circled overhead. I could hear Killdeer crying in the distance, and watched American Tree Sparrows dance through the branches on either side of the trail. A few Robins hopped and pecked at the softening terrain.
I wonder what else I would have seen and heard had I walked more than 100 yards down the path. I got distracted. There were LOGS on the ground! Basking in sunshine! Unfrozen! Moveable!
I’m a slave to my entomophily. Arthrophily. Invertephi…whatever, you know what I mean.
Slug eggs! And a millipede!
Red Velvet Mite!
Oh, wait: that’s a little plant. That’s right folks, the first sprig of spring! I don’t know what the heck it’s going to be (something monocot-ey that grows in groups in a little sunny opening at the edge of a forest – perhaps a day lily?), but it surely is a welcome sight.
And don’t get me started about the beetles, my friends. Not “just” larvae, but BEETLES. For serious.