December 30th – The Temperature Climbs

The red flag - like a flash in a Corot watercolour - marks the bait site.

The temperature went up through the night and was sitting at +1 when I left the house to check on the bait field. Although we got a couple of centimeters of fresh snow, it’s not likely to stay long. A heavy fog shrouded the fields for a few kilometers as I headed south from the Grand River and obscured any buntings or larks that might have been around. At the bait site I uncovered the cut corn laid down yesterday and replenished it. There were no buntings in the vicinity. Just after I finished and was heading back to the car, I heard the ‘tinkle’ of their flight song and looked up to see a flock of ~50 high overhead. They were on their way to another field and showed no interest in me or the bait. They soon disappeared into the mist/fog.

Mist/fog, due to a warming trend, covers the surrounding fields.

At Ruthven, the river is wide open and is home to many wintering Common Goldeneys.

When I got home I found this delightful email from Audrey Oswald waiting for me. It contains an even more delightful poem by Canadian poet Archibald Lampman – couldn’t be more appropriate:

Hello Rick

Congratulations on a very successful 2011 and on your 10,000 band!

I follow the Ruthven Blog religiously and as I read your entrance for today I was reminded of a poem by a favourite author of mine – a Canadian and a lover of nature!



Along the narrow sandy height
I watch them swiftly come and go,
Or round the leafless wood,
Like flurries of wind-driven snow,
Revolving in perpetual flight,
A changing multitude.

Nearer and nearer still they sway,
And, scattering in a circled sweep,
Rush down without a sound;
And now I see them peer and peep,
Across yon level bleak and gray,
Searching the frozen ground,
Until a little wind upheaves,
And makes a sudden rustling there,
And then they drop their play,
Flash up into the sunless air,
And like a flight of silver leaves
Swirl round and sweep away.

Archibald Lampman (1861-1899)


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