Thursday, May 21, 2009

Around Lake Junaluska

A deep breathing walk around lake upon arrival for solitary writing retreat reveals much:
(above date is off by few days---no internet at lake---lake entries added after the fact)

1. Seven male mallards swimming together along the shore, ducking and eating as they go, at about the same speed I walk. Is this unusual? Aren't they more often seen in male/female pairs? As we progress two of them break off and climb ashore (it is evening). Five continue. Further on, two more break off, leaving only three. Presently, lead duck turns and the three begin swimming and feeding in place. I walk on. Further round I come across countless #s of mixed pairs. Why that group of seven males? Sibling youngsters? Youthful gang? Unpaired adults?

2. A fledgling swallow on telephone wire, too young to be frightend by my slow approach. He allows a long close look. Scruffy head feathers. Skinny short neck. Almost no feathers on neck. Huge chest muscles relative to neck and head. Needed for constant and rapid wing beats of the swallow species is my guess.

3. Several pairs of long necked geese with goslings. Some feeding in grass with four or five adolescent goslings, already turned brown, but still fluffy. Best was a long line of six goslings swimming across lake behind mother. Father came behind sixth little one with a seventh trailing behind him. Father kept stopping to wait for the slow straggler. Be still my heart. dkm

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