There’s a bevy of redheads in the bay this morning. No, I’m not talking about buxom women—I’m talking about a raft of redhead ducks who have settled in the open water around the travel lift. They keep to themselves, want nothing to do with the Canada geese and mallards who hang out there, waiting for handouts from the nice marina guy who’s been slipping them birdseed all winter. I think the redheads are embarrassed by the way the resident waterfowl flock to the sound of the forklift he drives, follow it along the quay. What kind of behaviour is that?

No, the redheads cluster as far away from the Canada geese and mallards as they can get, sleep for the most part—I wonder how far they’ve flown?—though one of them always keeps a sharp lookout.

Redheads are uncommon in these parts, according to my Peterson guide, not like the scaup and buffleheads who pass through every spring. The longtails (don’t call them oldsquaw any more!) are back too. Their querulous call is unmistakable, and they do like to call to each other constantly. I heard them way out on the water before I saw them this year.

There’s another new bird around this morning, one I’m always happy to see. Bica and I were walking towards the river when I heard a deep, musical honking. It was a pair of trumpeter swans, just passing through, and they were warning the resident mute swans to stay away from their chick, if you can call a bird that’s almost a year old and almost fully grown that. But his dusky colouring gave him away, and the way he paddled along behind his parents, oblivious to any danger. The mute swans raised their wings and arched their necks but stayed a safe distance away.

Long tails

Sorry I don’t have a picture of the tundra swans, or the redhead ducks. You just can’t take pictures of birds with an iPhone—or at least I can’t. I include here a fuzzy image of a flock of longtails just to confirm that fact.

I guess if I’m going to write about birds here, I’d better get a proper camera.

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