Thursday, March 01, 2007

March 1: Mergansers and Thunderstorms

Thunder and lightning this am; the ice is being washed away. There's now lots of open water, and the geese are standing on the little floes around the edges of those "islands" of floating vegetation.

Four mergansers! Swimming close up to the top of the dam, one seeming to enjoy getting as close as possible. Three males and a female (Mergus merganser).

My favorite merganser sighting was at about this time of year in our cove off Lake Templene, when the ice was melting. Five females, working together like so many border-collies on sheep, slowly drove a school of fish up against the shore; when the fish were well trapped, it was a feeding frenzy! Happening right under my window!

I watch for them each year. They are not willing to appear anywhere that they sense people nearby; I doubt they are still seen on Lake Templene due to the sensless elimination of trees and jammed together development. (I cried when the tree that had reared generations of green herons was cut down -- and then left there; cut down apparently only out of a general dislike of trees, as nothing has been built anywhere near it.)

Anyway. Here on the river in the last week I have seen two downy woodpeckers, juncos, a nuthatch, and titmouses. Titmice? A housefinch was inspecting out porch, and Jim saw a robin by the St. Joseph in Mendon.