Friday, April 3, 2009
A WET-BUZZARD DAY
It’s a “wet buzzard” day here along the river. One of those drippy, drizzly, dark, damp, dreary days that I find delightful, though the aforementioned turkey vultures who roost on the island across from the cottage don’t look nearly so pleased. Rainy days aren't good for soaring, so a hungry buzzard looking for a tasty bite of breakfast roadkill sometimes has to sit idle and soaked, hoping for drier times. While the majority of their dark-robed clan have taken refuge by huddling on limbs of various large sycamores, close to the trunks, a handful of birds have found perches in the tops of a tree or two. Since these trees afford a good view to the west, maybe the birds are supposed to be acting as lookouts, scanning for a glimpse of clearing weather. However, they’ve all turned their backs toward the prevailing winds, which is also the direction of any possible storm relief. Rather than attentive, they simply look miserable. The rain began yesterday evening around 8:00 p.m. with a lot of lightning and thunder histrionics, which continued throughout the night. But the drama was more flash and sound than actual substance. A dawn inspection of the river revealed no more than a 2-3 inch rise in water level, though I expect that to increase some as the day progresses and the rain that fell north of here gets fed into the mainstream by the tributaries. When you live on a river, you have to remember it doesn’t matter how much rain falls on you and your portion of the drainage area—it’s the upstream rainfall that counts. Sometimes the water rises several feet here, although we’d never received the first drop of rain. Frankly, I’m glad to have this rain. The moisture will help bring out the wildflowers—of which, there’s been a dearth so far—and might, with luck, induce the delectable morel mushrooms to begin popping up in the greening woods. Most of us hard-core outdoor foragers rank these “sponge” ‘rooms near the top of our list for toothsome wild treats. The rain’s one downside is that I’ll probably have to buy that new lawnmower soon. My pair of Canada geese are doing their part, and they’ve even sublet a couple of corners of the yard to some noisy mallards…but the grass appears to be winning. I had high hopes [here] but the female Canada is now nesting over on the island, so her contributions to keeping my grass in check have been greatly reduced. Still, a bit of spring rain is a good thing…unless you’re a buzzard.