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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In-Between Days

Trumpeter Swan family of eight

Today is the first of many of those "in-between" days. Not quite fall and not quite winter. We awoke to a skim of ice on Oake Lake and the dogs' water buckets had frozen a good 2" on top. The dogs have warm and cozy nests of straw in their dog houses and seem happy to spend the day inside resting and waiting for the sun. This week is deer hunting season and in these parts, we stay clear of the trails until it's over so the dogs get a week of vacation from training.

As I watched the light snow fall through my office window this morning I noticed the family of Trumpeter Swans that had apparently stayed on the lake over night. They had kept an area on the lake of about 10 feet by 20 feet, free from ice by their movement. As the day went on, temps became warmer and the wind picked up, there were other areas on the lake where the skim ice was opening up. One of the adults of the Swan family was seen walking daintily across the skim ice to another open area, hoping for the rest of the family to follow, as it appeared. No one did. Instead, the other adult, with 6 adolescents in tow, swam through the ice, plowing a channel of her own to meet up with her mate on the other side. The photo above was taken when they reached the other member of their family.

It would be interesting to know what each Swan was considering when they took their path of choice. Why did one walk across the ice and the other plow through it? Was it the consideration of safety in the second Swan's mind? Not wanting her (assumed to be her) six babies to fall through the thin ice and experience a hardship, she then lead the way.... a different way than the first.

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