Along the Lakeshore: April 17

Music in the schools, ducks, dogs in England

As I have mentioned before, we are privileged to have an outstanding music department in our schools. Mr. Kringer announced at the recent school choral concert that Skaneateles schools received a national award for outstanding music education and performance for the second year.

The concert was 120 minutes of continuous musical performance and entertainment, with different groups filing up from specified seating areas in the auditorium. There was no confusion as to what, where, or who and no chairs were arranged. Of course, no one sits down in a choral concert anyway. The Bell Choir which is 100 percent organized and self-taught by the students was magnificent.

Back to ducks and beagles: I send a copy of my column to friends around North America, from Texas, on the Rio Grande, to Wellington, Ontario which is in Prince Edward County, an island off the north shore of Lake Ontario.

I received a memo from Canada stating that they regularly host about 200 buffleheads for the winter. According to the Ducks Unlimited magazine, my usual source and authority, buffleheads nest in the boreal forest of Canada, from the Northwest Territory to the Yukon. Ninety percent of them are thought to nest west of Manitoba. They nest in trees, but need water as a food source — insects in the summer, snails and clams in the winter. Maybe they go for zebra mussels in Skaneateles Lake and Lake Ontario.

It is thought that the total population is about one million birds. They seem to show up here in mid-October and leave in early May, depending on our weather cycle. They certainly are my favorite duck. They look really nifty when they settle in feet first, toes up, and leave two wakes until the body settles down into the lake.

The great March Duck Show has closed up. We had an ever-dwindling flock of scaup and assorted divers for three weeks, then only four ducks on Monday, and they were all gone by Wednesday. We still have two or three pairs of buffleheads. The mallard pair has been sleeping on the small dock and was honking around Monday morning, but jumped into the air when my binoculars hit the doorframe. I’m glad to see this love-struck pair around and I assume it will eventually yield six to12 duckies to watch growing up over the summer months.

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