At the first sign of fall cormorants come.


Their world has two realms: water and trees.


In the water

They fish, sometimes alone, sometimes in flocks,

Diving, popping up yards away.

Sometimes silvery fishes waggle from their great beaks.

Sometimes they come up simply to breathe and dive again.


In the trees

They preen and dry,

With lifted wing, the sharp beak probing feathers.

For what? For a lake louse? For a  hitchhiking water beetle?

Or just for the slight pleasure of feeling beak upon feather root?


Drying: extending wings; holding the position;

Waiting for the intricate feathers to dry

So that the great bird can return to its other realm.


At the first sign of winterís decline cormorants leave.



--January 24, 2013