Take a glance toward the sky
Maybe it was the remnants of Hurricane Irma that prompted at least a dozen flocks of wild ducks to head south from wherever they’d been all summer during what had to be extremely miserable flying weather during the last few days of the first week of September. Or maybe they thought they might be of assistance to the millions of people who suffered so much devastation from that terrible storm that made wrecks of southern Florida and so many Caribbean Islands. Who knows what it takes to motivate ducks?
But there they went, off and on, for the better part of three days, in long V-shaped formations flying high enough that it was impossible for this set of eyes to discern their species but low enough to tell that at least three different breeds, based just on size and color, had chosen to fly over Charlie Brown Road on the way to wherever wild ducks are bent on going in such unaccommodating weather.
For whatever reason they were all headed due south. Our neck of the woods is either blessed or bedeviled, depending on personal perspectives, with an abundance of Canadian Geese. On a daily basis, especially just after dawn and right before dusk, flocks of a dozen or more will usually fly over on their way from one pond to another and there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to their compass orientation. Name a point on the compass and sooner or later, during the course of a week, you’ll see and hear a flock of geese headed that way.
You don’t have to be looking for geese to know they’re passing over because most of the time you’ll hear a honking, that sounds like a loud angry argument, before they come into view and even after they have passed out of sight. Even as few as two geese, flying together, can’t seem to pull it off without arguing about something.
A friend, visiting from England a few years ago, was with me when a long V of geese flew over and it seemed that every one of them was honking as loudly as it possibly could. My friend remarked that he had “just crossed several thousand miles of ocean and a chain of mountains and still couldn’t get away from the British Parliament.”
Wild ducks, on the other hand, usually pull off flying together without having loud conversations. The ones that were passing over Paint Lick, much earlier than the normal migration usually begins, certainly didn’t seem to have anything on their minds worth discussing but they were low enough and in large enough numbers that the whoosh-whoosh-whoosh sound of their flapping wings was just loud enough to call attention from the ground. One flock, most likely mallards had 53. Another flock of smaller ducks, most likely teals, had more than 40. None of them had fewer than 20.
And that was three weeks ago, just before summer finally decided to show up in central Kentucky and I haven’t seen a wild duck since Irma invaded.
In the meantime, more than half a dozen busy people have dutifully suggested that I mention, one more time, our upcoming Historic Paint Lick Village Fest coming up on Oct. 7. It is, in fact, shaping up to be the biggest thing that’s happened here in many, many years.
I actually didn’t need the reminders because my wife has spent several days accumulating a vast array of high quality crafts and other merchandise that Friends of Paint Lick (FOPL)will be raffling off that day. Be sure to stop by the FOPL building there at the end of the bridge and get your tickets. There’s going to be so much going on outside that you may forget the hoard of treasures inside FOPL’s front door.
And don’t forget to glance skyward periodically. You may not see them but it’s practically guaranteed that more than one flock of migrating ducks will fly over before the day is out and we already know that the weather won’t keep that from happening.
Reach longtime Enterprise columnist Ike Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook or 249 Charlie Brown Road, Paint Lick, KY 40461.