North Erath County, Texas, Lat 32.43 N, Long -98.36 W, elev. 1,086 ft. Turkey Creek Quad.
Your habitat, wherever you may be, probably sustains larger flocks of ducks, but I was glad to see these two ducks on our pond once again this Fall.
I walked across the Arena Pasture, diagonally to the road and directly to the pond, quietly edging up the slope and stopping in an area of broomweed in order to take a photograph of the two ducks. I had seen them three days ago and yesterday there were a dozen or so of their acquaintances feeding on the pond. When I finished snapping this photo, I walked on the road and scared up other ducks that were feeding, altogether about twelve. I will be more careful and not frighten them to flight although they rise just enough to clear the cottonwoods and land on Blue Pond, our neighbor’s stock tank to the east of us.
I took this walk after lunch, down to the Grove and around the edges of Salt Creek that has several caches of water, but is not flowing owing to the lack of rainfall. The water caches provide a source of water for deer, raccoon, fox and bobcat, among other species. Birds drink their fill and as they scatter in the trees, I hear their wings slap leaves. I walked, ambled is more like it, for forty-five minutes, taking photographs of foliage.
I came across a species of yucca that I must identify. I think it different from the narrow Pale-Leaf variety we have close to the house. This yucca has broader leaves and its color is a deep turquoise. The turkey bones that Olivia, my granddaughter, and I discovered this summer have been carried off. No feathers of the Thanksgiving fowl remain. What animal would carry off bleached bones and feathers?
I eased into this walk today, relaxed and breathing deeply. Nothing lay ahead of me except my next step, my scan of the ground and sky. I would have liked company, but this solitude was restful and aimless, other than to walk to the far field and turn around to retrace my trail. I could hear the dogs bark back at the house.
Then, I heard them. Sandhill Crane. I looked high and all I could see were the stratocirrus clouds. Their calls are like burbles, water gently falling over smooth stones in a clear stream. Gentle and calming. I could not see them. Their calls faded and I walked back up to the house. I stood for a moment on the back terrace and as I started back into the house, I heard a flock of Sandhill again. I looked up and 2,000 plus feet above me, a flock of crane flew. They could of been higher above ground than that and as I pulled my camera up for my first shot of the season, I could not see them. But I had seen them and they had such a pale-grey, whitish even, underside that it reminded me of the underside of jet planes I see above. Their undersides reflected the clouds below them and I took a photograph of where they had been, aiming their graceful necks towards the southeast and warmer climes.
I shall photograph them soon, but today I could not find them low to our earth for they soared above me and my camera. I heard them. I saw them, but their image I could not preserve en camera today. But I photographed two ducks for our Fall season. What’s the saying, “Sufficient unto this day?” I think so.