Saturday 22 May 2010

Life on a Muskoka shoreline

Once  upon a time, there was a darling little cat named Oliver.
He doesn't look like trouble, but he is!

He figured the shoreline was ours; shared as it is with his sister, Sady. They patrol the shore looking for all sorts of intruders: moles, mice, and usually leave the remains in the garage. The birds are too smart and vigilant for them, and seldom can Ollie sneak up on the robins in the clover.

 Deftly winding his way amongst the baby-blue forget-me-nots, statuary and clover, Oliver approaches.

He crested the hill, in his nonchalant crouch, and spotted Pappa goose watching him like a hawk.

They know his style. He'd pluck their feathers in an instant.

Oliver doesn't seem fazed that they are thrice his height and weight.

With a severe 'honk' everyone falls into line. The two dads face Oliver bravely. Hissing and doing their murppy/honk sound that told the goslings to move it or lose it.

The troops gathered —if not under then near — the mothers' bodies, in the blink of an eye. Dad's lowered their necks and gave Ollie the evil eye.

They are so entertaining!

Off they swim, in search of their delightful morsels: bugs, my water hyacinth, greenery of any shape and size, which will likely be as early as the others flora this year.

The muskrat has already been into the frog pond, ripping out the juicy stalks and leaving a path of chaos in its wake. I've seen signs of him in various bays around the lake. Settling down to a good feed, leaving the leaves behind. Good to know that the cycle of life continues.

Mr. Casual feline, non-plussed, ambled on over to see me as if to be complimented on the good job he did herding 4 adults and 11 goslings. (I finally was able to count them!) I was rather impressed, as his bark is worse than his bite. He runs at them because he can, and they plead uncle, running at great speed for the safety of the water.

They are adorable wee ones, and voracious, even if they do leave calling cards behind. These things will pass, and fertilize the clover for other generations. They have been visiting this place long before Mr. Burgess, the original man who bought up these properties in the late 1800s. These landowners, then our family (who bought the property in 1960), and their line will likely outlive our noise pollution, water pollution, plastic and garbage will have the last laugh.

Dad feels pretty pleased with himself, and gives the old wings a shake and a flap. Massive wing span.What a guy!

The wee ones copy the adults: washing in the water, shaking off the dust, mites and drying their stubby, useless wings.

Little caramel-feathered motorboats, zipping here and there, plucking the bugs off of the leaves. 

The goslings' wings are little stubby things right now. The adults do not hesitate to nip at a wee one in their way. Then they take it out on the one next to them. All is not well in paradise.

   'He looked at me funny!'
   'Did not!'
   'Did too!'
Moms and Dads ignore them!

One little junior called his cousin a name. Throwing those nasty words around like sticks and stones.
'You take that back!'

Meantime, Butch returns, ambling along looking for some grubs. She didn't find much, the goslings having cleaned up. Few snails, bugs, or greenery remain in their wake. Bless their little souls!

Sady had an encounter with Butch yesterday, or the day before. It's all an act. She thinks she can fake it, but I know her.

The sunfish are happily sunning.

In another camp, this large fish (below) was patrolling her egg-laying spot. I'm not sure what kind of fish, any ID help would be appreciated, as I am a bit of a luddite in the fishing world! Lake trout, I think. Our Muskoka Lakes have been stocked in the fall and many minnows school themselves in the work of finding food. Collecting in a quicksilver collide, shadows belying their nearly invisible presence.
(Download the 2009 Fish Stocking List by clicking here. PDF)

I managed to take a video of her swim patrol. Not the best video ever, but you can see the back and forth motion. I would guess she is about 12" long. I was sorry I pissed her off so, but left soon. Fish often create a nest by fanning away debris, then they guard the nest.

I am appalled with the garbage I have been collecting from around the lake. I keep bringing it back: lures, beer bottles, plastic, eavestrough plastic/vinyl covers, plastic balls...

And I made 30 cents in sunk beer cans, picking up the other plastics I found at the shore.

Man's inhumanity towards nature.

We have a list of original cottagers, from a 1969 list of our lake association. These people, all in their graves, must rage at the mess some leave.
Camera CrittersI hope I leave the world a better, cleaner place. If we all did our part...
Camera Critters #111


Misty DawnS said...

Wonderful and entertaining post with GREAT photos! You really had me smiling the whole time.

eileeninmd said...

Great post and photos. Love the goslings, they are so cute!

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Wonderful post and photos, the youtube also, great shots.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

What a great walk around your beautiful property -- lovely, except of course for the last paragraph -- of course, you know that kind of disregard for nature happens everywhere -- and makes you wonder what is wrong with people. But we must concentrate on the beauty and do what we can to pick up after others , as you did!

Hootin Anni said...

Jenn, this was definitely entertaining for us visitors; to be sure. I loved the close up of the goose....just the face. Amazing.

Thanks for stopping by...have a super weekend.

Snap said...

What a wonderful, entertaining post. The goslings and Dad really are something.... Thanks and happy Critter Day!

Cloudia said...

Such a great post, Jenn!

I posted a fish video to YouTube today...we think alike.

I have decided to pursue my dream of opening an adult day-care from scratch....wish me luck!

Aloha from Hawaii

Comfort Spiral

Cheryl Kohan said...

What a wonderful story! I really enjoyed reading all about your cute but rascally cats...I love cats. Cats are so smart. Although it sounds like that Papa Goose could have caused some damage if he'd put his mind to it. The photos are terrific, too.

Michael said...

Really nice collection of pics. The goslings are brilliant.

Lucy said...

I've been trying to get decent photos of the baby geese and finally had to go to Port Huron to do so. You, on the other hand, just had to go out your back door!

LadyFi said...

What a wonderful variety of animals! Great post.

jabblog said...

Most enjoyable post. Your cat is very brave - geese are big and scary!

SandyCarlson said...

A beautiful lesson on how to be a family. I enjoyed it very much.

Gill - That British Woman said...

whata super post, you had me enthralled with it all.

Its awful that people don't take their garbage home with them. I had to pick up a can from the front of our driveway filled with cigarette butts yesterday that someone threw from their car window.....icky, icky, icky