• Dale Bowman

Buffleheads & favorites: Ramble with the Lady

A pair of buffleheads bobbed on the north old clay pit this morning. Just them. Well, a pair of Canada geese were on the west shoreline.

I find it odd that waterfowl find our little middle-of-nowhere town pond during both migrations. We have resident mallards and wood ducks, but the passage of other waterfowl during migration is an uplifting part of the seasonal changes.

Of course, red-winged blackbirds trilled around the north pit. they have been for nearly a week. Another one of my favorite birds.

I think these are my top three birds:

1) Wood duck

2) American goldfinch

3) Belted kingfisher

I would probably throw crows in my top 10. And, even though I have a love-hate relationship with them, I would probably put blue jays in that list. And great horned owls. Now I am getting close to the 10, especially if I throw in northern bobwhite. And red-wings.

As you can see by the list, the subtle eludes me. I like the in-your-face beauty or strength.

Chillier than expected as Lady, our family's mutt, and I rambled off this morning, in the mid-20s. The snow cover in town probably has something to do with that.

I suspect the snow cover will be gone by the end of the day, even here in town. I hope to hurry that melting along by smoking some chicken all day, then grilling some country ribs and baked potatoes this evening.

Crossing the side rail, separating the town from the wilds of the town pond, I noticed how little snow is outside of town. That's because the winds at the height of the storm in the open areas swept the heavy wet snow into drifts.

Just a few remnants of snow linger around the town pond.

Chilly enough morning that contrails added another dimension to the sunrise.

The pair of geese that nest on the island on the south pit were swimming around, but not yet on the nest. Any day now they will be.

A lone mourning dove whistle-fluttered out of the brush below the trail, formerly another side rail, above the south pit.

Back on the edge of town, no doves or pigeons were flying or sitting on wires by the grit area by the grain elevators. Surprisingly.

Not much else, other than tons of starlings in town, was moving this morning.

As I finish typing, I see a vividly red male cardinal strutting down the porch rail under the bird feeders.

The northern cardinal would be in my top 10.

Thought for another spring morning.

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