Slipping through the fence and trespassing at the Crestview Sewage Lagoons feels so badass, despite my perfectly innocent intents. It was 8:30pm, the sun had already set well behind the mountain, and dusk was sweeping across the valley. With no time to waste, I entered the forbidden territory and set up my spotting scope, Northern Shovelers quacking and flushing from the ponds in front of me.
At least 103 females/juvenile shovelers were feeding in the murky waters, along with a small flock of 13 Lesser Scaup, a couple Bufflehead, a few Gadwall, four Green-winged Teal, and a lonesome Northern Pintail. About twelve very fluffy Ruddy Ducklings could also be seen bobbing amongst the flock – a very late brood, with a slim chance at survival. Every bird in the lagoons looked to be either female or this-year’s young, which made me wonder where the males were. Do they migrate out early, or are they inhabiting another area? Maybe these lagoons are used exclusively by mothers and their young through the summer and fall.
A Wilson’s Snipe flushed from the edge of the grass, circling high into the sky to sound its harsh alarm, while a Common Yellowthroat snapped from somewhere inside the shrubbery and White-crowned Sparrows came out to watch. The older ponds were very quiet, but with so many places to hide in the grass combined with the dissapearing light, there could have been hundreds of ducks in the ponds I may not have been able to see. A pair of female Mallards caught my eye; standing breast-deep in the water, they were digging up food with their webbed feet, then dipping down – dabbling – to eat it. It looked an unpleasant, yet relaxing business.
I felt relaxed; I had found my zen again there at the edge of this socially revolting place, which was my own personal treasure. It felt nice to be out; My studies at the Yukon College are low stress so far – but I should probably get past the first week before saying that. Still, being inside all the time gets you down without realizing it.
It’s not good for the soul to be trapped indoors without taking the time to step outside and connect to the beautiful world we live in. I need a reminder of this occasionally, whenever I become too focused on the busier aspects of life. David Mossop provided one in the homework he assigned to us the other day.
“But please, however far you dissapear into the musty data collecting, analyzing and computerizing of these disciplines be prepared to retreat back into your hobby, your sport, the relaxing fun of just plain Natural History on your days off!”
Beautiful advice to everyone, no matter what it is in life that they do. Life is too short not to live!