Thursday, November 27

Thurs. Nov. 27th… Six AM Duck Walk…… Happy Thanksgiving…………

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Well, this morning I arose at 6:00 Am and as I squinted to see in the morning mist over the frozen Pupskill Lake Pond…… I saw the rat pack scampering around at the end of the frozen pond. Looking like an outtake from an old Charlie Chaplin movie or maybe the Keystone Cops…… I watched as they fumbled and fell over one another as they slipped and slid on the ice surface of the pond, working their way from the downstream side which had frozen solid during the night, to the up stream side of the pond where there was still a center vein of flowing water. After seeing them on the ice, I waited for a little more daylight to flow over the horizon, so I wouldn’t scare them further up the stream, toward the open fields, when I went out to herd them back into the duck house. Within another fifteen minutes, it was light enough to see everything, (our Indian Runners are white & tan……and were easy to spot in the early morning light) so I donned my heavy coat and boots and headed for the end of the pond. Once I approached them in the stream, they panicked and headed for the pond, but quickly reached the end of the open water and stopped at the ice line…… there, they held, quacking incessantly like a bunch of old ladies at a male stripper review. I threw a few cat tails at them and yelled “Go HOME!!!” and they finally climbed out onto the ice and did their Charlie Chaplin walk across the ice, picking up to a full speed "runner" at the grassy bank. They were running full tilt and had almost made it to the duck house until I stepped out of the weeds, into the yard, which was a good football field’s length from the duck house. I believe they were relieved to be home where there is a nice heat lamp, plenty of nice clean water and wood chips to nest in so you can close your eyes and carelessly sleep…….safely……… instead of continuing the twelve hours they just endured. I entered the farmhouse, unbundled and poured a cup of coffee, returned to the computer room to relax and upon looking out the window……… beyond the chicken & duck house, in the stream area by the fields, some seventy-five yard upstream from where those ducks were, stood an adult coyote, (I think) looking into the yard and down toward where the ducks had just been, in the stream. I said, I think, because there are a few dogs in the neighborhood, and this was far enough away, that I couldn’t say for sure, but it sure looked like one. Until I grabbed the binoculars, it was gone…
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How close had we come to disaster? Was it a Coyote or a neighbors dog? We hear them by the dozens at night, howling, not more than 100 yards away from the house…… in fact, we heard them last night, howling from the open fields, with the ducks appearing to be between us and the howling!!! I doubt the ducks are aware of the fact that they could have been the bird on a Coyote’s Thanksgiving table last night or early this morning.
Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

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