Friday, May 2, 2008


Yesterday evening, Clara and I were walking in the Upper Arboretum, near the area marked on the arboretum map as the Old Faculty Picnic Grounds. I was enumerating the birds I had seen in the arboretum over the previous two days.

"I've seen a great blue heron, blue-winged teal, a brown thrasher, yellow-rumped warblers, house wrens, song sparrows, and a veery—but what I haven't seen yet is..."

Magically, as if I had wished it into being before I could say the words, a bluebird appeared in the branches of one of the small bur oaks nearby.

On the way home, we saw an even stranger sight: a pair of blue-winged teal, male and female, flew over Central Park and came to a landing in the branches of a large maple in the southwest corner of the park. I couldn't remember ever having seen a duck roosting high in a tree before. There are perching ducks, but blue-winged teal are not among them. What could account for such eccentric duck behavior?

Speaking of eccentric behavior, what's the deal with the weather? April was a cold, wet month. In the north central part of the state, around Lake Itasca, between 40 and 50 inches of snow fell during the month. As recently as Monday, we had snow in the air, little meandering flakes that seemed confused about where they were. Last night, a front moved through the area, bringing thunderstorms and more cool, damp weather. For tomorrow, there's a chance of snow again.


Christopher Tassava said...

The thought of teal perching in trees gives me the willies. Endtimes, anyone?

We had some wacky waterfowl here yesterday: two male and one female mallards toddled out of the pond at the end of the block, came up the bank, crossed our street, cut between two townhouses, and then cuddled up in the mulch under an evergreen behind our house. They were gone in the morning, though.

Jim H. said...

Mmmm..roasting ducks.

You said roosting?

These feet ain't made for roosting, but that's just what I'll do. One of these days these feet are gonna roost all over you.

---song of the blues-winged teal.

New Poem: "Phrasebook"

My poem " Phrasebook " has been published online in Ergon: Greek/American Arts and Letters .