Saturday, January 2, 2010

Six Decoys

Bella and I walked the Sweet Trail on New Year's Day. The wetland is frozen solid again. More people were out, walking the trail and wandering onto the snow-covered ice. Fisher, deer, fox, mice, raccoon, and squirrels were meandering too. As we approached the first big wetland with the heron nests, an odd sight --something that I had noticed on Tuesday -- remained.

Waterfowl hunting season continues until January 11th in this area. Just as we returned to the small parking lot five guys in camouflage carrying shotguns were returning to their cars. Another trail leads from here down to the shores of Great Bay, where many ducks and geese congregate in winter. The hunters had returned empty-handed, outsmarted by the ducks that stayed far out in the center of the Bay.

As to the curious sighting back at the frozen wetland. Six wooden duck decoys sit on the ice, as if hunters had left in a hurry, or realized that any sensible duck would not land on ice. There was no open water in sight. Maybe they placed the decoys during the very brief thaw last weekend and then the wetland froze solid, leaving the decoys frozen in place until the next thaw. These scaup and mallard are likely to overwinter.

Scaup, or "bluebills"

A male mallard.
A large bird checked out this fellow,
leaving behind an impression of its wings in the snow.
The mallard was the most colorful of the flock.


Winterberry Bird Scat

A week ago--on a coldish January day--a small flock of robins ate all the berries from one winterberry shrub in our yard. They flew off as q...