Sunday, 17 March 2013


PAIRED -Wood Ducks  Watercolour Painting

THREE MALLARDS  Hand-coloured etching

DRAKE WOOD DUCKS   Watercolour Painting (detail)

It’s getting on to the middle of March. Soon the ducks will be back.

There were times, thinking back a number of years, when come the middle of March I’d get up early and head out hopeful that the ice had gone off nearby Tiny Marsh, and that the ducks would be back. Open water was the key. It didn’t seem to matter that the winds would still be blowing cold, and that some mornings there would be a skim of ice on parts of the marsh.
Drake Wood Ducks        Graphite Study

Paired - Canada Geese
  Hand- coloured Etching
It always amazed me just how waterfowl know when the ice goes off a northern marsh. They’ll come north a ways then sit until they’re certain that further north there’s open water. No one seems to know just how they become aware of weather conditions hundreds of miles to the north, but they do know and when it’s time they come by the thousands........or perhaps I should say the came by the thousands.

Used to be a time when nearby Tiny Marsh, situated to the north-east of Elmvale, Ontario, would host literally thousands of waterfowl of various species. Nearby farmer’s fields flooded with snow melt would play host to waterfowl feeding on spilled grains and various sources of protein. Then, the farmers got the idea of planting spring crops and learned that by ditching their fields they could encourage run off, and early planting. Now, the snow melt lasts but a few days, and the numbers of waterfowl that visit the marsh are reduced drastically. Hoards of Canada Geese, a success story gone bad, now own the marsh. Still we do get a few species and many of us who remember continue to scan sky and the open water to enjoy what is sadly becoming but a memory.

SPRING -Tiny Marsh                Watercolour Painting

This painting depicts a portion of a farm field a bit to the south of the Tiny Marsh.
At one time for a period of as much as a couple of weeks thousands of ducks would feed in the snow melt, and feed on the spilled corn left in the fields.

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