It is 3:30 in this quiet and very dark morning. There is no moon above the dark skeletal arms of the trees, but the cozy temperature of 50 degrees F makes up for the darkness outside. Unusual weather for late March. I had been in a light sleep, as it seems a deep sleep is never something I can count on. When nights are warming into spring, I turn off the heated bathroom floor and push down the quilt and know that my sleep will be even more easily broken. I like a cold bedroom.
I had been dreaming about something, something to do with Cardinals and Bishops, perhaps from the murder mystery that I had been reading just before falling asleep at 10:00. What brought me wide awake?
I sit up in bed and the dramatic sounds of a goose break the silence. The honks are loud and sound like panicked cries rather than the usual party banter that we hear when the winter geese are visiting here. Those geese have all flown north now and the only ones I see in the daytime are the two that are nesting on the former osprey platform. For the last two days the goose has definitely been brooding and I see her gentle shifting as she places her breast so carefully on the nest now and again. She sits there all day. There are eggs. The gander is not seen as often.
Yesterday the female osprey arrived and the pair swooped high above the river and over the nest in survey. There was a little bit of arguing with the interloping geese, but not as much as I would have expected. Maybe they have another nesting area as a back-up plan. I was surprised there was not a greater war. I was surprised at the mixed emotions I felt in all this spring drama.
But maybe these noises tonight mean there are night-time maneuvers?
The honking begins again and it is compelling. I throw back the covers and get out of bed and head out to my deck. I open the door quietly and in my stocking feet cross to the far left side of the deck where there is a view of the nest. The air is perfect and calm. There is now silence except for when I reach the edge of the railing and the clumsy crashing of a frightened deer to my left can be heard flailing his/her way to the far side of the ravine through the thin woodline. He can see me, but I can only hear him.
I wait and once again the loud honking of at least two geese in two different areas on the water rises up to me. I cannot really see clearly to the river but I hear the geese in dramatic cry. I also hear the slapping of wings on the water. The noise continues for a few more minutes and then all is very quiet. I had grabbed the binoculars but can only see a ghostly outline of the nesting platform and no motion. I see the lights across the way on the water but no swimmers.
I know that osprey are not night birds. Could this be that great horned owl I saw last summer? Would he be strong enough and brave enough to drive a goose from her nest? Would her eggs be his reward?
I sigh and return to the inside. I will not go back to bed, but will write this post and then wait for dawn, maybe to see the answers to my questions or maybe even more questions.