August 15, 2012

Impromptu Wonders

Last night's impromptu evening walk was a bit of a gamble.  I offered the hope of seeing herons and egrets come in to roost at Borden's Pond and crossed my fingers.  We were met with a pageant of evening wondrous moment after another!  The afternoon clouds gave way to clear shafts of evening light that set the lotus fields aglow and deepened the colors of all the trailside wildflowers. Then we were greeted by wild whistling and the determined flight of the now famed, but rare black-bellied whistling duck as he took off near us to fly two large rotations around the impoundments, calling all the while.
As we walked up the river trail toward the refuge boundary, we marveled at the bounty of swamp dogwood and elder berries and the great expanse of stunted wild rice plumes out in the marsh (lower water, shorter rice).
Once at Borden Pond, the magic began.  First, a colony of cardinal flower glowing from the shadows.
Beautifully seeded, arching sprays of milk parsley were silhouetted against the smooth, rosy-colored water.  An egret sailed across the pond and alighted in the top of a tall silver maple.
Frogs jumped across our path.  Green herons (4+) flew in with loud "skows" echoing across the pond and a pair of what looked like snowy egrets appeared and settled into a low hanging branch near enough for us to watch them.  A silver ribbon appeared out in the pond, marking the wake of a beaver swimming past.  A common merganser flew in and an unidentified hawk swooped in from overhead.  As the light faded, two screech owls began to call to one another, one from the ridge and the other by the river...a first listening experience for some.  Walking back in the waning light we caught glimpses of a nighthawk's teetering flight just overhead.  A beautiful, peaceful, and memorable walk for us all.

My thanks to Janice Koskey for the use of her beautiful photos.  I mistakenly left my camera card at home last night!


  1. Lovely! Every time I read about these walks, I regret not having been on them!

  2. Thanks, Dawn. We had an exceptional time, wish you could have joined us.

  3. i enjoyed this walk so much, and to see the photos done so well/they
    are all wonderful. nice work, janice

    i looked for the black-bellied whistling duck at plum island the following
    day, however, no luck. i did join later in the day their birding trip that
    explored the seabirds and one of the first we viewed was an osprey that
    flew into the air with a fish.