[Tweeters] Fill today

Connie Sidles constancesidles at gmail.com
Thu Jan 10 17:21:49 PST 2013

Hey tweets, between the rain, snow, and sleet, it was wild at Montlake
Fill today, but more beautiful than ever. Platoons of Red-winged
Blackbirds were piping away among the cattails and on nearly every
tall tree. Their cheerful songs were a welcome concert when I arrived
shortly after dawn. The day looked promising, with the sun slanting
down on platinum waters and birds everywhere. I paid no attention to
the dark cloud on the northern horizon, thinking it was a fog bank. I
should have remembered my Laura Ingalls Wilder book, "The Long
Winter," when blizzards shook their small prairie town every three or
four days from October to April. Laura could always tell when a
blizzard was coming because it could be seen as a black cloud on the
northern horizon. Sure enough, in a few minutes, the black cloud
overtook me, and the heavens opened up to discharge its contents.

I took shelter under the cottonwood tree by the Turtle Logs, in full
view of the two cottonwood giants that have crashed down this year. I
will note the tree I stood under has been partly gnawed by a most
ambitious beaver. It was not the most comforting place to stand.
However, it gave a good view of ducks on the lake, so what the heck.
At least one Redhead drake is still present, along with rafts of
Common Mergansers, and one Red-breasted Merganser (a great duck for
the Fill, where they are pretty rare).

Eventually, when the storm eased, I walked the rest of the Loop Trail
and encountered the juvenile Northern Shrike huddled on top of a snag
in South Blue Forest, looking as cold as I felt. The shrike's gray/
white/black color scheme matched the sky, magnifying the beauty of the
scene. I love the Fill best, I think, when it is at its wildest.

Also on view today: 2 Red Crossbills flying across Paulson Prairie.
Altogether, I've seen 72 species at the Fill this year. - Connie,

constancesidles at gmail.com
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