Ithaca was windy, skeins of Canada geese beating their way through the turbulent skies,
ring-billed gulls blowing about like memo paper, lifting off
but Montezuma Refuge was being beaten about the head by a gale. There's not much to stop the wind that far north along Lake Cayuga. Yes, I went into this pronouncing it Ky-Yoo-Ga. Say it "Kew-ga" and people will think you're a native. It was clear that it wasn't only my doofy pronunciation that made me stick out like a sore thumb. A woman in the natural foods co-op stopped dead, stared at me and commented on my all-over tan, which by my standards has faded completely away. Tan? What tan?
I realized that Ithacans are a pallid people, living as they do under a nearly year-round cloud cover. When the sun did come out they almost danced for joy. I thought about starting up a happy light/greenhouse business in this beautiful city, then decided it was a dream for another person. I do like it there, very much, but I think that longterm I'd be starved for sun.
Montezuma was sunny, thanks to the gale that blew the clouds away. The soup du jour was Pintail/Greenwing, served on a bed of organic duckweed. See the brilliant green speculum on the little duck on the left? This is three pintail hens and two green-winged teal.
This teal's flying over one of the 61,000 muskrat lodges at Montezuma. Man, do they have the mushmice there.
I love this shot. You can see the duckweed clinging all over his bill and neck. I say "his" because he has a telltail line of bright chestnut-buff undertail coverts coming in, telling me he's a young drake, born this spring. Well, that's an interesting typo. Going to leave it.
I was taken by the satiny dusky gray-brown plumage. What was this bird?
I concluded that this was a melanistic Canada goose, lacking any white feathering. But a Canada goose. I hope some normally plumaged Canada finds it attractive. I certainly did. I showed it to a lovely gentleman working in the refuge visitor's center. We combed the books to make sure it wasn't some Eurasian stray, some charcoal bean goose or whatever. Nope. There's nothing out there without any white on it.
While there I noticed that they had The Bluebird Effect on their shelves for sale. That was really nice.