I headed out with a goal: to take pictures of ducks. (Because a cynical college student across the ocean reduces this entire enterprise to "taking pictures of ducks," and I wanted to prove that the game was still afoot.) But the edge of the lake was devoid of ducks; perhaps they were clustered in the open water in the distance, with the gulls that reeled and landed there. Between us was an expanse of freshly snow-blanketed ice.
It was impossibly quiet, except for a jay and cardinal flashing blue and red in dense bare brush. Both complained while pecking like woodpeckers at branches. Look, guys, 10 blocks away there is a feeder stuffed with expensive seeds, and nobody's eating it but boring house sparrows; what are you waiting for, a written invitation?
All the birds seemed ravenous, including this wee white-throated sparrow, who was foraging near the lake's edge.