11 August 2009

Lesser Scaup Broods

IIII ) lllllllllllllllll Lesser Scaup Broods (10Aug09)

0829 Surveying the canal this morning. Aomaohksikimi is in flower

0901 All the geese along the canal nested and fledged early, and while some of the ducks were going on about the same schedule as those at the pond, I've seen several late mallard broods this morning. The most recent hatchlings are the lesser scaups, who couldn't be more than a week or two out of the egg

0919 The entire canal route from BTAP up past Mookoan Reservoir to the 509 is lined with waist-high white sweetclover, gumweed and cone-flowers. Couple good patches of niistsiikapa's too, and I was surprised to see a yellow-headed blackbird still lingering around

1950 Overslept and only just got to our seats on the grassy bank of Sspopiikimi. Already the sun is far below the coulee rim, so that the landscape here is cast in shadow. It feels quiet. And for the gosling, sitting alone again on its natal island, it must be lonely here as well

2015 Four ksisskstakiiksi have left the lodge in the short time we've been sitting here - three heading to the subpond (where minutes ago we heard a splash), and the other one moving toward the wet meadows north

2033 The ksisskstaki who'd gone north has now returned to the lodge empty-handed. While it was gone, a kingbird landed on the lodge perch and, as yesterday, feasted on a dragonfly

2038 A mallard mother with her brood of three is feeding beside the ksisskstakioyis, having paddled in from the south end of the pond. The gosling left its island and has swum shallow switchbacks all the way to the far north end, head out-stretched, and occasionally honking. It's looking for its missing family

2047 A muskrat kit just came out of the ksisskstakioyis, swam straight across the pond toward us, and dove into the bank-burrow below our seats. Immediately after, an adult muskrat exited the burrow and headed north along the bank. I wonder if the presence of muskrat kits accounts for the few weeks that these animals were absent from view, because we had seen them mating shortly before they disappeared

2051 Talking about the muskrats with Piipiiaakii, she reminds me that when we last saw them before the disappearance, they'd often be carrying bulrush and cattail stalks into the dens. Perhaps they were stock-piling food to eat while tending to nests of babies

2058 I catch a glimmer of white above the reeds, far back in the wet meadows behind the subpond. It's a white-tail deer, and moments later it walks into view and enters the forest. As it vanishes into the darkness, the scabby redhead with her two nearly-adult ducklings swims quickly past. We for our part are ready to head home