Sufficient fowl for our day

North Erath County, Texas, Lat 32.43 N, Long -98.36 W, elev. 1,086 ft. Turkey Creek Quad.

Two ducks on stock pond, November 1, 2010.

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.

Yucca in the Grove as I ambled on November 1, 2010.

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.

Stratocirrus where the Sandhill Crane had flown, November 1, 2010.

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12 Comments

Filed under Birds, Ducks, Sandhill Crane

12 responses to “Sufficient fowl for our day

  1. Absolutely, sufficient unto the day.

    Sunday I worked with a team of fellow Wood Duck monitoring folks replacing eleven of my duck boxes that were literally falling off their tree. As we worked we constantly heard the calls of Sandhill Cranes both on the ground and in the skies above the Oak filled riparian habitat we were working in. It was beautiful.

  2. Caralee

    What would carry off bleached bones and feathers? Rats building their nests! We have tons of evidence of this around here where desert rats abound. Inside the main house, which doesn’t have doors or windows yet, they have a heyday in the stacks of straw bales, finding all kinds of things to protect the entrance of their nests–mostly cactus pads, small bones, and even tools that are laying around. Recently, Jim found his small level at the entrance to a rat nest. We keep clearing all their work, but they redo it each night. They must think they’ve hit the jackpot to have a large stack of straw bales inside a warm structure for the winter. It’s an interesting thing to inspect rats’ nests for all the things they have carried to it. They may not be my favorite animal, but I have to admit they are hard workers.

    • Oh, Caralee! What a hoot your comment is. You should start your own blog, but then would you come and visit me? Thank you for your contributions over the past year. Tell Henpeck to put his tools away.

      • Caralee

        The day Jim puts his tools away in an organized manner is the day I’ll die of shock. By the way, today I was looking for an old paintbrush I use to dust off the woodwork I’m doing, and found it the first place I looked: at the entrance to a rat nest in the stack of bales!

      • You are so funny, Caralee.

  3. Hej Jack, it’s a good sign that the ducks have come back to the pond. I liked to hear about your walk, it was as if I was there myself. Hope there’ll soon be more water for the animals.
    The yucca has a fantastic colour.

    I love those elusive cranes. We don’t “have” the sandhill crane, but the common crane is now breeding in DK, and it is said that it is often seen in flocks with sandhill cranes in North America. No matter how many times I have been up there in the reserve in “crane-land”, I have only seen them once. I feel they are nearby, and I want so much to see them, but they are very shy. I’ve got one picture of a flock in the air, they are so beautiful and magic.
    It was a good idea of you to take a photo of the sky with the clouds, where they had just been. You used our imagination! I almost saw the cranes! You’ll soon get some pictures, best of luck! Thank you for sharing a lovely walk .
    Grethe `)

    • Hey, Grethe! Yes a great sign the ducks are back. I wish I could see your cranes. So much folklore has grown up about the crane in the Old World. Thank you for your comments. I had waited for the call of the cranes again when I saw them, but they sped away. I will get a picture. Denmark, the Old World…how I wish I could see it again.

  4. I believe I heard sand hill cranes while out walking at one of our state parks today. I thought of your post. These simple walks make life grand, don’t they?

  5. What a lovely connection we all have, the sandhill crane is treasured here as well. They come to winter here in a 1500-acre reserve called Whitewater Draw—a lush marshland and mudflat property that is an unexpected oasis here. It’s managed, such as with intermittent flooding, by the Arizona Game & Fish Department. Thousands of sandhill cranes and other birds come (along with all water-loving creatures), and humans seem to love them. The best part of the experience is being in the midst of their otherworldly cooing and burbling! It’s not surprising how revered the crane is in the myths, art and literature of many cultures. It’s not only a symbol of beauty and grace, but it holds high status in our appreciation of the socialization, vocalization, bonding, lifespan, and general antics that make humans feel connected to an animal species in a special way.

  6. Pingback: Cottonwood yellow sound « Sage to Meadow

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