Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Fall Migration Commences...

It begins with shorebirds. It's already been a few weeks since the first Least Sandpipers left their nesting grounds in Canada. Isn't it hard to believe that fall migration is underway? On the Wisconsin Birding Network reports are coming in...a Sanderling at Ashland and a Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Horicon National Wildlife Reserve. Yesterday morning on my way to work I stopped by a drainage pond along Woodland Drive and found several Least Sandpipers, a few Solitary Sandpipers, Pectoral Sandpipers, Lesser Yellowlegs and a Wilson's Phalarope - all southbound migrants headed for destinations to the southern United States or further on to Central and South America.

My eyes close and I try to imagine what it's like to be up there with them...the rushing air against wing and contour feathers, patterns of fields and water moving below in steady progression, eyes and bills fixed forward in unison expressing nature's sheer determination of survival. I wonder...what are they cognizant of? What is the realm and world of their experience like? I greatly desire this unattainable knowledge. I can only render something in my imagination I know must fall well short of their reality. I wish them safe journey and look forward to their return next spring. With somewhat subdued eagerness this go around, fall migration couldn't have come at a more perfect time.

All images © 2006 Mike McDowell

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