Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I love ducks

Although I work in a depressing windowless office, the building is right on the shore of Lake Ontario. So when I need cheering up, I head out, get a coffee, and sit by the water for a few minutes. This is what I did on Monday afternoon. The weather was balmy, and the lake was calm.

I watched a large group of Long-tailed ducks in the harbour. I don't see this species much, because they're on the lake in the colder months of the year.

A few of them were making their way toward the pier. They dove underwater, so I quietly approached the pier's edge. Standing still, I watched the bubble trails get closer. They surfaced right in front of me. Absolutely beautiful birds: white and dark brown, with long slender tail feathers. We studied each other for a few seconds, and then they dove back down into the water.

I felt my spirit recharged as I tracked their underwater progress... graceful, purposed... to a depth of several feet. (The effect of the zebra mussel infestation is astounding.)

I turned back north, looked at the gleaming downtown skyline, and returned to work.

In researching and writing this post, I learned that the ducks were probably feeding on the zebra mussels. Anything solid, stationary, and underwater in Lake Ontario is usually covered with them. I just hope the mussels didn't make the ducks sick with botulism.


further information:

Clangula hyemalis
zebra mussels
article about zebra and quagga mussels in Saturday's Globe and Mail
overview of invasive species in the Great Lakes

26 comments:

tornwordo said...

What a nice experience, thanks for sharing it.

Crucible said...

Quack.

I love watching them too usually up north when my dog is deciding if its worth jumping in after them. Loons too.

Salem said...

It sounds nice. Much nicer than up a few blocks, here.

Wow, that ended dark.

St. Dickeybird said...

Wow, how did reading that post relax me?
Thanks!

Steven said...

You mean the ducks weren't covered in sewage the minute they came up for air?

Miss Thistle said...

Ducks are so cute. And I'm glad you knew the species; you make this birdwatcher's daughter proud ;)

Butchieboy said...

Lovely story. It's remarkable that you made no mention of felching or fisting, as I know you are obsessed with these types of activities. Ducks are so cute.

Pablo said...

Beautiful post.

your judgemental aunt said...

I have a window but that doesn't cheer me up. When I need cheering up I leave work and go shopping.
Maybe I'll buy a new winter jacket today! You know a big heavy one for February! Last time I looked I couldn't find one I liked.

Anonymous said...

I have no window, no ducks, no mussels or lake. I have pills and snacks.

Timmy said...

pretty.

Riss said...

The windowless office sucks but it's awesome that your building is right there on the lake.

Anonymous said...

That sounds very nice.

Here's you

and you

madamerouge said...

OMG! I forgot how much I loved Queer Duck and his friend Openly Gaitor!

Butchie, I do not like those things!

Anonymous said...

Madame is telling the truth, he really does not like those things. He LOVES them.

Anonymous said...

LOL at Peter.

Natasha said...

Beautiful post, Floyd, Mloyd or whatever your name is. I've never seen one of those ducks before, so thanks for linking in the picture. How cute!! I wonder if John will get me a duck for Christmas. I soooo want one now.

Nölff said...

We have ducks at the front of our office. They leave duck turds all over the parking lot.

Butchieboy said...

Ducks are yummy.

The Persian said...

Butchie is right, if you can get past the oily-ness.

I so love Lake Ontario AND Toronto. I swear it is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited (and I've been around!! hehe)

liquid said...

This is a beautiful post.

Adorable Girlfriend said...

Present for you at RoD. You'll probably complain the way T-bone did and that Res, who the gift was Not for!

teh l4m3 said...

Mmm... Peking Duck...

sirbarrett said...

I bet the ducks work their way up to being able to deal with botulism in mussels. They have little duels to see which one can eat the most without losing their feathers.

Butchieboy said...

You spelled "dicks" wrong.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing how a change of scenery and a brief encounter with nature can revive the spirit! Very nice post...