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