Saturday, March 24, 2007

High Waters and Goose Poop

Very high water and rushing rapids bring all sorts of things downstream. We often find engine parts and washing machines after a rough winter. The tree lying flat above center is just such an example. The shining water is very fast moving. I keep Ellie away from the edge at this time of year. She's much more interested in the burrows along the levee, anyway.
No closeups of the waterfowl today. They were creating a cacophany of bird calls, almost drowning out the traffic on the bridge. We kept our distance, because, well, frankly, they are very dirty. Goose poop is easier to take when its aged a bit.

This is just plain ugly. It will be years before soil on the boat ramp settles, leaving the bare stones. But the waterfowl don't care. We walked over to the other side of the drainage creek, to allow the birds their space. They watch us warily. A little while later, a car will unload a dog and its owner, and they will chase away the wildlife.

Across the drainage creek the waterfowl are fidgety. They crab and crank, making quick honking noises that are echoed in the squawks and screeching of the gulls. Ducks can't get in a word, edgewise.

Very much a city shot. Rapids alongside the Walnut Street Bridge. The ducks seem to enjoy riding them down to the wide island where the local high schools kids installed an osprey platform. While I haven't seen ospreys yet, there are plenty of sightings of bald eagles. We can always hope.

I won't go out on a limb.

These are probably not the last we'll see of snow tracks. But wouldn't it be nice?
The rapids are absolutely forbidding under the Walnut Street Bridge. They command respect for the power of the Chemung. A few lives are lost every year in this town. Where there are rapids, the water is shallow. The deeper water in the background has terrific undercurrents. The bodies almost always wash up much further down river.
To me, this is Elmira, New York, USA. The hills roll off into the distance, and the Chemung River cuts the town into distinct boroughs. It is very, very early Spring, and the trees are still bare, the hills still brown.

The drainage ditch in the foreground is actually an inlet right now. The highwaters make our excursion dangerous and difficult. My legs are very tired, so we edge toward the top of the levee, and head home.