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A brown, speckled hen, with elegant neck and little chevrons along her flanks, swiftly dips in flight; she banks now, then climbs. Wing tip close, shadowing every shift, are eight dashing and reckless drakes - suitors, plumed in splendid tuxedos, jostling for favor.

Long have I watched and admired pintails. I realize that I am not alone. As a child, I was told that millions graced the Pacific Flyaway. Now a small fraction remains, and we are certainly diminished. As I remember these birds, I can see pair after pair dotted on quaking green sponges of Yukon muskeg, great arrogant feeder flights massing in wheat fields along the Snake and Columbia Rivers and tired pilgrims lost in thick, pearly fog above the Butte Sink in the Sacramento Valley. I see them maple-leafing, tumbling down thousands of feet of sky in zany, avian delight, wings tearing and throttling the still desert air, their tautness and wariness dissolving amid the Mexican mesquite and yucca spikes into the glories of courtship.

She leads, like the mysterious salmon seeking its source stream, clairvoyantly guiding the way north to the very pond where she was hatched. Her drake follows. Will that magical place be scraped into a parking lot? Will their bower be plowed under?

- Thomas Quinn

Pintails and Sour Dock
by Thomas Quinn

Thomas Quinn - Pintails and Sour Dock
This Piece has been Hand-Signed by Thomas Quinn

  • Signed by the Artist
  • Paper Lithograph
  • Limited Edition
  • 742 S/N
  • 6 1/2 x 9
TODAY'S PRICE
$85.00
Was $175.00!

A brown, speckled hen, with elegant neck and little chevrons along her flanks, swiftly dips in flight; she banks now, then climbs. Wing tip close, shadowing every shift, are eight dashing and reckless drakes - suitors, plumed in splendid tuxedos, jostling for favor.

Long have I watched and admired pintails. I realize that I am not alone. As a child, I was told that millions graced the Pacific Flyaway. Now a small fraction remains, and we are certainly diminished. As I remember these birds, I can see pair after pair dotted on quaking green sponges of Yukon muskeg, great arrogant feeder flights massing in wheat fields along the Snake and Columbia Rivers and tired pilgrims lost in thick, pearly fog above the Butte Sink in the Sacramento Valley. I see them maple-leafing, tumbling down thousands of feet of sky in zany, avian delight, wings tearing and throttling the still desert air, their tautness and wariness dissolving amid the Mexican mesquite and yucca spikes into the glories of courtship.

She leads, like the mysterious salmon seeking its source stream, clairvoyantly guiding the way north to the very pond where she was hatched. Her drake follows. Will that magical place be scraped into a parking lot? Will their bower be plowed under?

- Thomas Quinn


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