It was a brisk Saturday morning as I made my way to the lakeshore.
I wasn’t after fish, but those who I sought would be fishing, or so I thought. I was on the trail of Long-Tailed Ducks, hoping to capture not only pictures but sound.
Writing in 1925, Edward Howe Forbush called these birds “perhaps our most loquacious ducks,” adding that “their resounding cries have been likened to the music of a pack of hounds.”
The trick was to get close to their deep-water haunts, without slipping into the deep myself. I failed that morning, but when I returned late in the afternoon the Long-Tails went about their business with little notice of my presence. I was pleased to note there was little wind, giving me an excellent chance to hear and perhaps even record their song.
In the video below you may also note the odd Scaup and Goldeneye. (You may need to turn up the speakers to hear the Long-Tails’ calls, about 20 seconds in.)
Sun was setting over a frozen harbour channel as I made my way home.
The glassy water gave no hint of a coming storm.
Yet the bay was transformed by sunrise. A stiff south wind had picked up overnight, collecting thin sheets of ice from across the lake and depositing them, in a million pieces, on our shoreline.
Waves were rolling up against the ice edge, so far from land that the scrunch of ice against ice was barely audible.
But waves are nothing if not patient. On Sunday night a rhythmic smashing of ice had grown louder than the wind. By Monday morning the ice sloshed back and forth against the shoreline, shards splintering. By Tuesday morning the ice had returned to water.
(The video below is best viewed full screen, ideally on a screen approximately the size of Lake Ontario.)