Monday, March 18, 2013

Ducks are back

I always assumed that the ice breaking operations on the Rideau River finished just upstream from Cummings Bridge, where the rapids are, but today I caught a glimpse of the Amphibex well beyond that point, and the "growlers" that have been artificially broken off the main body of ice continue to sail down the river towards the falls.

Rideau Falls, March 2013, photo by Chris Hobbs
We went to look at the falls at the weekend, very full now and with huge chunks of ice splashing into the river below. It's a dramatic spectacle. The mere picture above cannot convey the noise, the dampness from the spray, the smell of the river water, and the dizziness you feel standing on that bridge and watching all that water in rapid motion just below you. Compare the picture above with the one taken on March 3rd and you can see how much ice on the falls themselves has been dislodged by the sheer force of the water during the last couple of weeks.

It hasn't taken the local ducks long to find the water that's been cleared. I think we saw nine goldeneyes near our house, but what do they find to live on? The freshwater shrimps and the weeds below the surface, I assume. It must be extremely cold in the water, just now.

If you're interested in spotting birds, by the way, there's a list of recent sightings on this page of the Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club website.

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