Wandering Aimlessly


Early Spring 2017

by Phil Burkhouse


Our unusually mild conditions in February were rudely interrupted in March when cold temperatures, snow, and wind made a comeback in the Big Woods.  I awoke in the wee hours of the morning last Thursday and noted it was starry out and a balmy 14 degrees.  I had located a beautiful pair of migrating hooded mergansers on a small beaver dam far down county and had set out a blind.  I feared the pond could have frozen overnight but decided to venture down anyway because you don’t get many chances to shoot hoodeds in our area.

I arrived at 6:30 a.m. and noted it was warmer down county—16 degrees!  As light slowly emerged over the swamp, I was dismayed to see the entire pond was covered in a layer of ice and nary a duck was to be seen.  I persisted until 10:30, waiting to no avail.  The ice was still present and no ducks returned, but I did manage to photograph some swinging bridges that cross over the First Fork.  Permanent objects are always easier targets than wildlife because the problem of presence is eliminated.




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