We drove to Wood River this morning under a dramatic sky, threatening rain in every direction. As we paddled to our island a lone greater white-fronted goose flew by, frantically. I had never heard one before and found it quite funny. We opened nets just before sunrise and it was quite a fiasco. Many of the ropes had been cut again, some poles missing. The vegetation all had frost on it, and some of the ropes were icy. I forgot gloves. Net 1 fell to the ground. Your typical opening hour.
For the first 3 hours of the morning the thermometer read 0 degrees C and it drizzled on and off. Enough to warrant closing nets, but too little to call the day off. And when the drizzle would pause, we would re-open nets. At least if it had poured we could have left, but that kind of undecided weather is the worst. It was miserable – the cold, cold wetness. Makes me highly apprehensive about the coming of winter. Though among the misery was some magnificence, as there always is if your eyes are open to it. As I fought and fumbled with net 1, I heard a rustle in the canopy and looked up just in time to see a BARN OWL fly out from the island over the marsh! Full frontal view of that white, white face. I have never seen one before. Finally! I had been looking for months. Later in the morning I was examining a group of sparrows and discovered a white-throated!!! I am 90% sure. It’s like Mother Nature, once again, is slapping me in the cheek with beauty in the face of adversity. Not just any beauty, but some that I have been specifically seeking. Though I wasn’t looking today… and that’s why they came to me. Once again! When will I learn?
We had 9 golden-crowned sparrows today, many of them with large deposits of fat bulging over the clavicles and belly! Most were weighing 32-33 grams, but then we pulled out a guy with such a deeply colored and well developed crown… and he weighed 44.8! Wow!