Monday, February 22, 2010

Singing reeds

The red-winged blackbird males are back, and staking their claims. Konk-a-ree!

In the picnic area of Centennial Park, there is a small duck pond. The designers thought of everything; weeping willows at one end for shade, dead snags for perching birds, sloping, grassy slopes for ducks, and a tiny island in the centre, covered with tall reeds for nesting in. The island was singing. Konk-konk-konk-a-ree! Hidden redwings, all shouting at once.

When the females arrive, in a few weeks, the males will take to the tops of the reeds to warn off intruders. For now, they're just voices. I saw one, near the roots, barely a smudge of black with a shining eye.

Laurie noticed a shoveller, at the far end; the first we've seen for a long time.

Under the yellow/green willow branches.

Mallard, not quacking. There's too much redwing racket to be heard, anyhow.

On their way.

In one of the bare trees over the pond. Cowbirds, I think.

A treefull of crows was in full discussion mode. This pair sat alone and silent in the next tree over.

Another silent watcher.

The tide was out, and we walked and waded half-way across the sand. A few more mallards dabbled in the shallows here, and an eagle tore at something at its feet. Gulls dotted the sand in every direction.

Just standing. Nothing to do, nothing to say.

Gull feather. and pretty orange clamshell. Gull lunch.

Lunch dishes.

All very static, so far. But then there were these ...

Two flocks of peeps, cavorting.

Cavorting silently, mind you; it was the redwings' day to sing. (Crows don't count; they don't sing, they croak.)

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