Wednesday, December 10, 2014

In Which It’s Too Early For Eagles

Dec. 10--grey, cool late afternoon at Cedar Lake, but a nice afternoon to bike around the lake anyway.

Birds—lots of them—were gathered at Cedar Lake this afternoon. I finished teaching for the semester with a class that ended at 11:30 a.m. It was a little frustrating—students had done speeches on Monday and I had finished grade reports for them that I could not print before class.

And, what with one thing and other, I didn't leave campus until around 4:30. It has been a long week, the hill to hump day was pretty steep. Computer problems at the campus newspaper, end-of-semester stress, getting stuff done for terms that start right after Christmas—well, it’s been a long week.

And although it was cool and light was fading, I decided that 4:30 wasn't too late for a quick trail ride around Cedar Lake.

There were lots of birds there. No eagles, yet—in late winter, when open water is precious, those majestic big birds are often clustered near open water at one end of the lake, but right now there must be way too much open water available all over North America—despite a cold November, lakes and rivers and streams are not totally frozen over.

Cedar Lake was maybe 33 percent open—enough ice making places where ducks and geese clustered. They seem to like the edges between ice and water, and must be well insulated—swimming in a giant bowl of ice water doesn't seem to bother them.

Crows were also clustered in trees near the lake and called in their cacophonous voices as I rolled by.

Warmer weather is forecast for this weekend, which is nice. If I’m lucky, I may get down to the Cedar River on Francis to see how the season is going there. It did feel good today to ride a few extra cool, dusky miles at the end of a stressful semester.

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