TODAY IS PROMENADE DAY AT THE CHURCH ‘O THE PINES, as the church moat (also known as the Father of Waters) is shedding its ice and the migratory waterfowl are returning or passing through. Beauties like the Hooded Merganser pictured here gather in two’s and four’s and seven’s and float downstream on the strong spring current past the church grounds, then fly back upstream and do it all over again. All are in their most brilliant breeding plumage. The Common Mergansers, twice the size of their little cousins, float by like battleships, the males a blinding white in the morning sun, females with their ‘bed head’ hair-dos more subdued. We will see the males only this little while, never to be observed all summer long while we see the females tending their large broods. Where are the dads? Just like humans—gone ‘up north’ fishing.
The beautiful Goldeneyes are also here, parading back and forth, the males occasionally leaning their heads back, pointing their bills to the sky, and producing a modest ‘peent.’ Beautiful music to the gals, evidently.
Of course, the Geese are greatly excited, gambling, and gossiping endlessly (why is it that geese ‘gabble’ and no one else does?) as they lay claim to their spring homesteads.
Meanwhile, from on-shore in the church grounds, Sparky the Cardinal sings brilliantly from a lofty perch, the Chickadees chant, “Spring’s here!” while the Blue Jays make sarcastic comments on all the proceedings, pretending not to notice, or to be unimpressed by the grand displays of their waterfowl brethren, promenading on the moat. But Jays notice everything, and we know their insecurities, and we know better.
It is a grand and glorious day at the Church, one of the most exciting days of the year. It’s Moving Day. Migration Day. Promenade Day.