Date: 1/3/18 1:38 pm From: Joseph C. Neal <joeneal...> Subject: ALMA WASTEWATER, OASIS IN AN ARCTIC BLAST
Even in an Arctic Blast with 0 degree wind chills and the like, wastewater’s gotta be treated. That’s the very good headline for winter birds, especially geese and ducks. Farms ponds are all frozen, including those bashed open by farmers for their cows, which quickly return to freezing.
At Alma Wastewater Treatment Facility, aerators necessary for cleaning up waste water keep many ponds at least partially open. This is an obvious boon to all the water birds, who can either stand on the beach of ice or jump in the water, as they please.
There were at least 160 geese, mostly Canadas, but also Snow Geese (2; one white, one blue), White-fronted Geese (5), and Cackling Geese (4). They had an ice shelf and open water at the treatment plant and when they tired of that, open fields with cows across the road.
Open water also benefited Wood Duck (one male), Gadwall (2), American Wigeon (6), Mallard (~60 in a tight clump and standing on ice), Northern Shoveler (64, in the open water and standing in sun next to it), Ring-necked Duck (~30), Greater Scaup (1 female, maybe 2 others), and Lesser Scaup (~80).
Killdeer (4), Least Sandpiper (2), and American Pipits (3) seemed to treat the ice like any old mudflat. Nobody seemed to pay any attention when an immature Bald Eagle flew over.
A thought to share for 2018: “Let us not unravel the web of life that has been spun.” – from “Still A River” by Still on the Hill.