Thursday, February 12, 2009

September 21: The growing hordes

I saw a flock of gulls and could not make out what they were doing. As high as they were, and as erratic the swarm, they resembled insects more than birds. As they circled round they flashed light and dark, top and bottom in the sun.

There was no overall direction, although my bird book listed them as a migratory species in the region. There was no obvious food in the water or the air; instead, they played in the wind and as I passed under the center of the group they formed a "donut hole" above my head.

When fleeing, gulls make fairly individual decisions. It is a strange fact that birds do not seem to pay much attention to the flight of other species, so I might see the geese fly off first, then the cormorants, then gulls, and pelicans; and always last if they even do flee, are the "fearless": the sandpipers. I had been seeing largely geese and gulls so they were the easiest to contrast. Geese always fly away as flocks, simultaneously. Sometimes I do see a goose or two start to fly off alone, but you can see their embarrassment when the rest do not follow, so they land immediately, pretending not to be afraid.

I never see an embarrassed gull. They make their own choices, and as I approach a flock of gulls sitting on the shore there is a gradual wave of flight as I broach their individual personal spaces.

This did not help me understand the donut flying above my head, however.

Later, I saw two hunters with rifles, dressed in jeans and baggy t-shirts; I guess they were kids but I could not see them clearly. Near my campsite I heard raucous young men drive by in 4-wheelers. I attended to my cooking to show I felt I had a right to be there and wasn't worried about kids running around with guns. At least I tried to convince myself this. I was glad the next day would be a Monday and there would not be so many people running around.

Day 92 ended: 50*02.398N, 097*52.004W

1 comment:

John said...

Chased by cops into his garden, Clint proceeded to unearth his carrots.

"FREEZE! What are you doing?"


"oh... carry on good citizen"

True story