Windy With 100% Chance of Visitors

It's official; spring has arrived by the swake.  Even though the trees are still clenching their leaves in tight little cocoons I know spring is here.  It blew in sometime over the last few weeks bringing a host of visitors of the human and the animal kind.  I tried to be very attentive this year and to watch the arrival of that fickle thing called spring from a more scientific perspective.

I tried to disconnect myself from the palpable desperation to experience some sunshine and green grass.  It seemed like a wise idea since I was getting rather fixated and rather disturbed by the daily forecast of more snow.  So I put on my analytical hat and began noting which visitors were arriving week by week.  This was all part of a logical thought process that was intended to erase the desperation, replacing it with a calm assurance that things would turn out as they should.  When I took my first Canada Goose photo of the year and encouraged you all to welcome them back with a wave, I didn't realize how much the winds of spring would change things around here this year.

March 22 

The geese were the first to arrive two by two, settling into their nesting areas.  Every gander was busy chasing any other potential geese squatters away and all the geese seemed to be greeting one another with honks as they glided onto the still frozen swake.  It was like living on the tarmac at the Minneapolis airport for a couple of weeks.  There were constant take offs and landings of pairs of geese with all the accompanying honking.  I was tempted to put a string of runway lights along the swake to guide them in.  The flight activity was a twenty-four hour a day business and that meant being woken up at 2:00 a.m. to the honking of incoming geese.  

April 5

As the geese were arriving a porcupine decided to join the party.  He wandered across the swake in the late afternoon on a Friday, only to have his wandering turn into a mad dash for the nearest tree when he realized that a 100-pound German Shepherd was after him.  There he sat for the next twenty-four hours, way up in the willows holding on for dear life while Kanti returned to her post by the house. 

April 19

The cold and snow persisted while the ice on the swake slowly, very very slowly began to melt.  By this time the geese had been here nearly a month contending with frozen ponds and miserable temperatures.  They must be really hardy; if I had been them I think I would have left.  This was the point that I consciously decided to document the melting of the swake thinking that taking a photo from the same perspective each week would encourage me as it would be a visual reminder of the progress week over week.  Things still looked rather bleak but the Robins had arrived, and my spirits lifted.

April 26

Last week I missed taking a photo at the swake because I was busy learning about Alberta Public Library stuff and watching the ice recede on Lake Mildred steps away from the Jasper Park Lodge.  Sometime between Thursday when I left the swake and Sunday when I returned, all the frogs on the swake woke up and began croaking.  I'm not exactly sure yet which type of frog inhabits the swake but there is a good possibility it is the Wood Frog based on a really quick bit of research.  The link offers a thirty second sound clip of what the Wood Frog sounds like.  Imagine that sound at 10:00 p.m. multiplied by thousands and you know what spring sounded like by the swake last week!

May 3

The Red-Winged Blackbirds arrived this past week along with two additional humans and a four-legged critter named Doozer.  Down in the lowlands, along the edge of the water, the grass has begun greening up providing a soft place for the goose pair that have decided to make that their home.  In the house we have once again become a multi-generational family under one roof temporarily and we are thankful for the spring winds that have melted the snow and warmed the ground.

We are thankful our kids have turned out so fabulously that we are happy to welcome them home for a while.  We are thankful for the steady march of spring bringing new visitors week by week along with new choruses.  And the dogs are ecstatic to be able to swim again now the ice is off the water, finally.  I on the other hand am less than ecstatic about wet dogs.  But when I watch them race to the pond with tails waving high and huge doggy grins, I am reminded to not just watch life but to jump in and enjoy it, welcoming both the wind and the visitors.  The forecast today is windy with a 100% chance of visitors.  I wonder what new visitors will arrive on the swake this week.