10 August 2009

Abandoned Gosling

IIII ) llllllllllllllll Abandoned Gosling (9Aug09)

1818 Sspopiikimi - we come out a bit earlier today, owing to the fact that our daylight hours are decreasing. Just south of the ksisskstakioyis, in the middle of the water, there's a large section of pond-bottom exposed, greater in circumferance than any of the islands. We've seen it coming the past couple weeks, but only tonight has the water level decreased enough to expose earth

1825 On the milkweed beside our seat on the grassy bank, there is a red beetle with black spots, similarly colored as a lady-bug, but much longer of body. The baby swainsons across the way are starting to cry like adults, and we watch an unfamiliar pale hawk fly by their nest

1830 The first of the water mammals to make an appearance tonight is mi'sohpsski, swimming in along the opposite shore and entering the north door of the ksisskstakioyis

1837 There's some literature that describes muskrats who make their own burrows off the side of those going into beaver lodges. But when I mention this to Piipiiaakii, she notes that we've seen muskrats entering all three door of this ksisskstakioyis, and so it begs the question as to whether they're not merely guests of the ksisskstaki family

1840 There are mourning doves, kakkooyiksi, cooing from somewhere in the forest. Occasionally they will come down as individuals or in pairs, landing on the shallow bank that borders the wet meadow, beside the ksisskstakioyis. We haven't really been attentive to learn what it is they do there

1849 On the far south end of the pond, we see a white-tail deer walk down the embankment of the levy, toward the duck blind. It's too far away to see clearly, and soon it becomes concealed in brush. But if we're lucky, perhaps it will come visit the wet meadows this evening

1905 I take a little walk to the far south end, while Piipiiaakii stays back at the lodge. What I thought was exposed earth in the pond is not. Seen from above, it appears to be just a very thick patch of milfoil, with tops now taller than the surface

1910 I am saddened to find a single gosling entering the water from the bank that the whole family so often frequented. It paddles out and rests alone on its mother's old nest island. We've never seen the family members apart before, and when I report this to Piipiiaakii her suspicion is the same as mine - that this gosling was the one struggling most with its flying lessons, and that it has been left behind

1918 The first out of the lodge this evening is Lefty, who swims wide past us, heading north. Coot parents with one chick then arrive at the lodge. There is a second orphan chick following and crying behind them, but when it comes too close the parents attack and chase it away. It returns to follow again, but keeps a safe distance behind them

1922 While we watch Lefty and the coots, an eastern kingbird lands on the lodge perch with a mouth full of dragonfly, which it proceeds to bash on the wood before eating. And the juvenile spotted sandpiper comes to sit on top the lodge. It appears to be getting a little more chest coloration now

1934 Soon several members of the ksisskstaki family wake up and begin their evening forays, most heading for the subpond canal. A large painted turtle climbs up on top of the south entrance, perhaps scrambling to get out of the way of the beavers. It sits there just a few minutes, then re-enters the water. And all the while there's been a goldfinch flying above, just behind our seats, singing its four and five tone repetitive song

1946 Lefty has just returned from the north wet meadows with a sprig of rabbit willow, which gets pulled down into the lodge. Another ksisskstaki, as if aware of Lefty's approach, comes out the south entrance to observe the willow being brought. But once Lefty dives, this beaver also returns to the lodge

1954 Now there are several goldfinch in on the act, singing above the pond. One of the ksisskstakiiksi has been bringing old, chewed sticks out of the south entrance, dropping a couple at a time, and then returning to the lodge

2003 Two of the ksisskstaki who'd gone to the subpond just returned. Again their approach was proceeded by a family member coming out of the lodge to watch, and again one of those returning carried rabbit willow (this time a small bundle) which it brought into the lodge 2016 We decide to leave it at that for the evening, pack up and head out