Singularly, or together, Tom and I often visit this slough; the Saganashkee. Four miles long, it is only about six feet at its deepest spot. There are several pull-offs from the boundary roads for cars and motorcycles to park, a boat launch for kayaks, and canoes On many half-way decent days, fishermen and women can be found on the shore. often young children in tow learning to fish.
Co-mingling along the Saganashkee’s shoreline, waterfowl, songbirds, and birds of prey seek shelter in the trees, take refuge among the cattails, and soar overhead looking for a meal – or dancing their mating waltzes. Geese, egrets, herons, hawks – even Sandhill cranes abound, along with their home-sapien counterparts,who come equipped with cameras and binoculars . At the height of the migratory seasons, tripods and stilted legs are in equal fashion with long-legged Great Blue Herons. It is an area known by birds and birders alike.
I turned into one of the pull-offs and parked the car, an eye to the sky. My friend Phyllis identified a Bald Eagle in the area and I was hoping to catch a glimpse, which I did. The eagle was soaring in the distance; a magnificent sight to behold.
Cell phone in hand (it counts my steps), I walked a short distance, surprised by a gathering of dozens of birds I did not recognize. At first, it looked like a herd of black sheep. A few steps later, perhaps wild turkeys? Closer still, I could tell they were smaller in size than the common geese that were sharing their mid-afternoon snacks. Eventually, they sensed my presence. Long-legged and flat-footed, the scurried into the slough, a few fly-skipping.
Were they ducks? Swan? Black Swans have been passing through the area in the past several years, but, they seemed too small.
I asked my Facebook friends if anyone knew what they were, and they commented with some interesting choices. I must tell you, it was really great fun. Guinea fowl, mud hens, mergansers – and several other birds were suggested. I clicked on all sorts of birding sites, hoping to identify this flock.
I even dragged Tom to the area, not once, but, twice, and have returned as recently as two days ago, where these birds are still around. I believe they are migrating north and have stopped for a while to rest, eat, possibly convene for a bird convention. We estimated around 60 birds as they floated along the shore on Easter Sunday.
It was, in fact, on Easter Sunday that I was able to get close enough to capture enough features; beak, head, coloring, feet, flight. Coots!
I wonder if they will still be around today?
Have you met a new or interesting bird lately?