Saturday 10 May 2008

weekends & tourists

It is so peaceful here during the week. We have many visitors.

As the tourists fill up the lakeside, the geese, whom we feed every day, become wary. We have two pair of geese (one pair is Edie and Eva), who keeps the other pair away from the cracked corn we throw out for them. There is one lone goose and a flock of single ducks, as well as a pair of mallards we call Oscar & Myrtle. We have told the neighbours that we are escaping the tourists for the city. We know how many ducks we have and they all better be here when we get back, as we have full counts of our populations. There is a pair of loons, and couple of mergansers, too.

We have a raccoon who visits looking for food, the cat usually trees it or chases it off the property.

We abhor the weekends when the tourists come. When they arrive they seem to have to honk at the top of a driveway, letting the entire peninsula know that they are here. They the shouting and laughing seems jarring after a week of bird calls, squirrels chirping at the cats, and the murmur of the geese and ducks. Not that the laughter is not welcome, but it seems so intrusive as sound can carry across the still lake. A motorboat went by as we sat by the shore, watching our geese preen and primp. The goose watched them pass, as they commented on them. But s/he held fast on our "Flower Rock", as we call it. The geese bobbed up and down, then did a complete flip, soaking their backs, feet up in the air as they soaked their feathers. Then, back upright they used their beaks to preen their beautiful bodies and wings. They did this several times, completely soaking one wing first, then repeating with the other one. Once that was done they stretched their wings to the full 3 or 4 ' width, and flapped very hard lifting themselves slightly off of the water with a deep, drum beat as their wings flapped back and forth to dry. They are so marvellous to watch. We sit in awe.

Everytime they come in for a landing they arrive honking. I am not sure if it is to warn the smaller ducks. Another pair of geese came by, I could see Edie becoming agitated. He honked up a storm warning. He got off the rock, and lowered his body into the water. Then, he stretched his neck out, as if trying to hide himself. Eventually, he rose up to meet the other bird. He was not amused. He flew up as if in a rage, and flew at the duck. It took off about 5 or 6 meters and stopped. He kept at him. And kept him away. Eva just kept up her preening, content to let Eddie do the work.

Yesterday, a lone goose came by. This time, Eddie chased it off about 10 m. then returned to his rock by his mate. The goose repeated the movements towards the shore and the bird seed. It wasn't until the third time the goose came close, perhaps 2 m in front of us, and Eddie accepted the fact and, while he watched him closely, Edie permitted him to feed off the bottom. A veritable soap opera, for sure! I wished I'd had the videocam there.

But everyone settled in, the men next door BBQd their meal, on their "boys only" weekend, promised to watch out for our friends while we escaped to the city to visit Shaw Festival and see our son's performance in The Stepmother.


Gwil W said...

Our two crows, Max and Molly, are feeling frisky these days. Yesterday they were standing shoulder to shoulder atop the highest building in the neighbourhood where every crow for miles could doubtless see them and he was gently preening her neck feathers as if to say to the world: hands off she's mine!

Jenn Jilks said...

How delightful that we aren't the only ones to name our critters!