Spring is full of mallards, Canadian geese and their babies. They live along the deep shore grasses, closely watching over their young. Ducks give much more room to their young. The mom is in front and all of the little chicks speed from creek edge to creek edge almost as if they are running on the top. She will stop and count and if any are missing, begin quacking until they all gather again. They are very protective of their young, watching for coyotes, hawks, eagles and other predators. It’s part of nature, but hard to watch the families with 8, then 6, then 4 babies in tow.
The geese families band together. Some adults swim in the front and some in the back with all the babies in the middle. At first they just swim along the banks eating seeds and treasures in the grasses. They seem to be able to protect more of their babies this way, as their attrition is not as great as ducks.
Summer brings the diving and flying lessons. As the babies grow, they are patiently taught how to dive under the water for food. The splashing and kicking of little feet is fun to watch. Much like when our own children were learning to go under and it involved a lot of splashing.
The flying lessons begin and the geese fly low to the water because, occasionally, there’s a little bump of the belly on the water, as they get the hang of it. Our wildlife babies are growing up. The beaver and muskrats remain busy, pulling leaves and twigs. And occasionally an entire tree disappears from the view. Their patterns are the same. Every evening they swim the same route at the same time. Nature is predictable and wonderful and full of surprises all at once.
Fall and winter brings a change of guard. The geese begin to leave, the ducks remain, now grown, and wood ducks arrive. Herons are present and spend hours watching for the salmon and little fish. The eagles come and go to look for meals along the creek and the raccoons make an appearance looking for tidbits.
Year round in this space is a wonder and there is nothing more beautiful or peaceful after a long day at work than time observing the seasons on the creek.