Sunday, February 3, 2013

Momentary Blanketing of Season -- Snow and its Gentle Respite for the Ducks and Geese

Geese at Reservoir taking advantage of newly moving water.
Migratory geese at Reservoir, "hunkered down" on ice. Saving energy for migrations later this month?
The unlikely romance.  Romeo watching over Wiggly.
Wiggly and her Romeo.
Mallards under tree on a snowy Harlem Mere last night.
 The whipping cold that gripped the city over the past few days was blanketed last night by a soothing, calming coating of snow.

Everything silent, pretty and white with barely a breeze stirring.

There is perhaps no better time to appreciate the beauty of Central Park than either during or immediately following a snowfall.

Even the waterfowl seemed to take brief respite in the blanket of peace and momentary stillness that surrounded them.  They could breathe once again.

The new and unlikely romance at Harlem Mere between "Romeo," a wild mallard and Wiggly, a flightless, domestic Khaki Campbell duck continues with the love-struck drake following Wiggly around constantly like either a dependent puppy or devoted protector.   For her part, the always independent Wiggly seems to revel in the adoration, but doesn't necessarily return it. 

Wiggly came for her treats last night barely noticing Romeo tagging behind at her feet. Wiggly ate while Romeo mostly stood as protector and admirer.  I don't know that I have ever seen such a "love sick fool" as poor Romeo.  But, for the moment, both ducks seem to be happy and getting along, so if it works, it works.   It is after all, nice for Wiggly to have a new boyfriend.  The fact Romeo can fly and she can't doesn't seem to matter, as Romeo has become like an appendage to her. Wiggly calls the shots and decides where and when to go and what to do.  Romeo might as well not have wings as they are now utterly useless.  

Earlier in the day I walked around the Jackie Onassis Reservoir which this year, has served as a wintering site for several hundred Canada geese, mallards, coots and wood ducks.

Most of the ice that enveloped about 80% of the Reservoir earlier in the week had melted during a brief, two day warm spell.  But the winds quickly returned and remained cutting and temperatures struggled yesterday to get out of the 20's.

While some of the geese took advantage of newly opened waters to swim and search out food sources, most remained hunkered down on ice with their heads tucked back, presumably to conserve warmth.

Migratory geese don't appear to move around very much when finally arriving and wintering at a location.  Rather, they mostly appear to rest, hunker down and wait out the season.  Perhaps migratory geese need to save their calories and energy for the long migratory trips back north as soon as the first hints of spring arrive.

Fact is, that most of the geese currently at the Reservoir, will be packing their wings in just a few weeks for their arduous journeys home. 

But, I am sure even they enjoyed the snow last night -- if for nothing else, a momentary blanketing of season. -- PCA


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