Friday, October 29, 2010

Ice in the puddles

We've had a pretty warm fall here. As a result, the birds hung around later than usual. Winnipeg is in the middle of the continent, so you can see all sorts of interesting bird migrations. A spinner friend of mine in Kentucky (who is also a biologist) asked me about the migrations, and although I'd always looked casually, this caused me to pay more attention. Now I'm a fan of the late summer and fall sky activity.

For weeks before actually migrating, I watch the Canadian geese in particular. They do these funny practice runs, getting ready to migrate. There wouldn't be a full V of lined up birds or even a sort of haphazard one. There's maybe a basic "back slash" in the sky.
(I have to spell this out because this blogspot software thinks I'm doing coding and deletes the post when I really use a sideways V or backslash...)
Then I end up imagining the coaching sessions, complete with what the honking means:
--Guys! Guys! Let's get started! Pull to the Right! Go on! You can DO IT!

--Joe?? Where's Joe? Joe, come back here. Get yourself in line. Where are you....JOE??

(Joe drops lower, lower, lower until he falls beyond the other geese, beyond the horizon, likely taking a rest in some schoolyard...he's skipping practice again. How will he EVER do in the big game?)

In the back of line, maybe those honks were two geese (Eloise and Mildred? Albert and Stan?) who were catching everybody else's air. Maybe they were cruising along and gossiping about things. You know, like the next place they'd rest, some sports game they saw from the air, or maybe the excellent tail feathers of the goose just up ahead. I could come up with a whole imaginary community life story for these geese...except--

Usually I'm walking the dogs while I do this, so I have to pay attention to things like street corners, cars, and other excitement...other dogs, cats, and bunnies. (Bunnies can really cause a serious yank on the end of the leash, along with a hound-y, beagle-y, bird dog sound that is like no other...but I was talking about geese. Right?)

The professor went off to Fort Whyte recently with some friends to see the sunset and take photos of the birds. The photos here are his. I asked particularly after Canadian geese and Snow geese but he said there were also a lot of sea gulls in the mix, but that it was worth seeing.

I should note here that I too was invited to go off to see the geese. I am still feeling a bit under the weather, so I enjoyed the warmth of the couch and the company of Harry and Sally, the dogs, while he had a night out.

Today, for the very first time this fall, there was ice in the puddles I saw as I walked the dogs. A change in season is upon us! I am actually quite excited. Part of my health issues have been some bad allergies/asthma--and frost kills the leaf molds with which I appear to struggle. Bring on the frost! (Breathing is fun! Breathing is fundamental!)

Thought you'd enjoy the professor's lovely images as you imagine fall weather up here in Manitoba. Oh, and when you see the geese farther on their way south? Say hi from me. I'll miss their conversations while I'm on the daily dog walk.

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Blogger Cathy said...

Brrr...just the thoughts of ice make me shiver. I love fall, just not that cold! I've been fortunate that my allergies have not been that bad for some reason. Glad you are feeling better and that your ice might help even more. Have you been able to knit and/or spin??

October 29, 2010 at 8:40 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

Freezing weather has its good points. Cuts down on the insect population, too.

My birdfeeder birds were emptying the entire thing twice a day for about a month, and are now back to less than once a day--I imagine the ones who choose to migrate out of here (some do, some don't) were fueling up for the trip. It's quieter now.

October 30, 2010 at 1:10 PM  
Blogger Karen Johnson said...

As always, the professor's photos are beautiful! Tell him I said Hi!
Karen J

November 2, 2010 at 6:27 PM  

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