Friday, April 25, 2008

The Neighborhood Watchduck

Well, the green tsunami isn't quite here yet, but it's coming. Leaves are appearing this week, at last. It's been cold and rainy all day today, and in fact I had to turn the furnace back on this evening. They say we might get a little snow overnight. That's unusual this late, even for Minnesota, though not unheard of. There's a pair of mallards nesting near the lake boat launch at Fort Snelling, and while the female isn't showing herself much, the male is very vigilant. I've named him the Neighborhood Watchduck, because whenever anyone comes near, he hurries over from wherever he is (mostly swimming around in a little flooded area between the road and the parking lot) and quietly but persistently tells them to go away. You can see him above, coming right up to me to tell me there are eggs nearby and I should do the decent thing and just let them hatch in peace. I'm not sure where their nest is exactly, but I think it's on the lake shore in among some half-submerged trees in a spot that would be pretty inaccessible to anyone but a duck. And they're not, by far, the only nesters in the park right now. The last photo in this series is of a goose sitting on her eggs on a tiny island in the pond near the park's visitor center. She's not as concerned as Mr. Watchduck about keeping everyone away, perhaps because she's better equipped to defend herself should it come to that.
The most wondrous thing we saw down there today, however, was the tree swallows, shown above in the 4th photo, who have replaced the pelicans and loons on the lake. They flit and flit just above the water, catching insects, but they were so fast I never could get a photo of one up close. This view from the shore was the best I could do. I would guess there were over 100 of them.
Redwinged blackbirds also abound, and today I even saw a female. According to Stan Tekiela's Birds of Minnesota, they follow the males at a later date, and come and choose a mate and build a nest after the males have established their territories.

It made me think of this hymn by Isaac Watts:
I sing the mighty power of God,
that made the mountains rise,
That spread the flowing seas abroad,
and built the lofty skies.
I sing the wisdom that ordained
the sun to rule the day;
The moon shines full at God's command,
and all the stars obey.
I sing the goodness of the Lord,

who filled the earth with food,
Who formed the creatures through the Word,
and then pronounced them good.
Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed,
wherever I turn my eye,
If I survey the ground I tread,
or gaze upon the sky.
There's not a plant or flower below,

but makes Thy glories known,
And clouds arise, and tempests blow,
by order from Thy throne;
While all that borrows life from Thee
is ever in Thy care;
And everywhere that we can be,
Thou, God art present there.

Today I'm grateful for: an interesting and productive web conference this morning with folks in St. Louis; for the gift of some fun new projects to work on; the beauty of a rainy spring day; good friends, and the many people doing good work in the world; for a tasty and comforting supper of cheese sandwiches and tomato soup with Dodo, Suzanne and Monica on a rather wet and raw evening; for two interesting new books in today's mail; for good news about the great improvement in JH's health following her surgery; for the beauty of the park and the abundant life there and everywhere bursting forth and giving praise.
Holding in prayer today: MK recovering from foot surgery; JK, MF, PC and all dealing with serious illness; people needing jobs, esp. JN, LM, JC, KR, RH and TK; people arrested in last week's ICE raids, and for the people who work for ICE; J&W hoping to adopt; sisters preparing to go to Africa; those discerning new ministries in Hawaii; LM's big project; Sisters of St. Joseph in Algeria.


Anonymous said...


Sarah said...

Hi! Welcome to SisterBloggers, I popped in to just to say Hi and then discovered you're in St Paul. I'm an Aussie but in 1998 I stayed in St Paul with a family I'd met on Summer Camp in Winter WI. They were such a lovely, welcoming, kind family that I was left with the idea that St Paul was home to a lovely community. Isn't it funny how these things still with you?
Anyway, welcome and thanks for the photos. I love the ducks! Sarah