Snow birds

Everywhere there’s the noise of Hutton’s running on the surface of the water, a child-in-a-puddle sound, splish-splosh-splish-splosh. Flying looks harder for them than other birds. When one takes off, it steps up onto the surface of the water and begins to run in a perfectly straight line, legs extended front and back in the splits like a gymnast on a balance beam. It always looks as though it’s straining hard, like it won’t make it, then all of a sudden the air holds it up and it’s gliding over the surface of the water.