Here and Gone

Green-winged Teals have left for parts north and east to breed.

Green-winged Teals have left for parts north and east to breed.

They leave quietly in the night, the ducks, hawks, and divers who have spent the winter with us. For them, Seattle is the balmy south. Now that spring has arrived, they are heading north and east to their breeding grounds. Spring is not traditionally a melancholy season, but I miss the teals, buffleheads, and wigeons who have delighted me for so many months. I know I won’t see them again until October, and some will never return, fallen in transit or eaten while defending their nests. On the other hand, I can’t spend much time in mourning, for the spring migrants and summer residents are arriving by the thousands. One of my favorites is the Cinnamon Teal, a glorious assemblage of red, orange, burnt umber, and yellow, a living hotbed of glowing embers in duckly form. Five males were on Main Pond yesterday, trying their best to impress a female, who seemed more interested in eating than in dating.

Cinnamon Teals have arrived for the summer.

Cinnamon Teals have arrived for the summer.

Here is a poem for you about the teals:

Remember the ones who are gone, yes,
who may return,
or never.
Rejoice for the ones here in now,
for they bring glory to today.

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