Birds, Geese and a Turtle
We have gotten to know quite a few people by name now, and enjoy having dinner with different ones each night. It is interesting to hear the stories of their backgrounds, the jobs they held, the places where they have lived, the trips they have made to all parts of the world.
One of the couples we befriended is currently on safari in Africa for two weeks and we can’t wait for them to come back and show us their pictures and tell their stories.
Sometimes, when I think I know someone’s name, and see her pass, I’ll call out that name, “Hi Doris!” If she turns around and greets me in turn, I know I did remember yet another one! If she doesn’t respond it could be that she hasn’t heard me; I never know in this place if someone can hear well or not.
The water level in the pond has gone down about three feet, because of lack of rain the past two weeks, and the motor of the fountain broke down. It was only two years old, but sucked up too many algae and died. I’m hoping that, if it does not rain soon, they will add water up to the original level. So far that has not happened.
One turtle calls our pond home. At about 10 inches long, it is not highly visible, and even slower than the geese when it crosses the road, as it sometimes does, crawling up the slope from the pond across the street and across the lawn to the back of one of the cottages. I don’t know if it finds there what it is looking for, but I do know that Pete has a number of bird feeders back there, and perhaps also geese feeders, because the yellowed strip of grass across from the pond to the back of the cottage is a dead giveaway that the geese love to visit him. I saw the turtle back in the pond the next day, thank goodness. I love turtles. I fondly remember swimming behind large sea turtles and watching them, through the mask of my snorkel, slowly “fly” through the water, like birds through the air. I remember, too, the encounters I had with huge Manta Rays, in Hawai’i and Tahiti. Swimming behind one in Mauna Lani Bay, and standing among them, touching their rough, yet velvety skin, while a guide was feeding them fish. Manta Rays also move through the water like turtles, “flying”. I love elephants too, by the way. In Thailand I rode a young elephant, and later on I stood beside a four-year-old, petting her while she glanced at me with her right eye and lifted her trunk in a “thank you”. But I am sidetracking…
Here, we have geese. They are everywhere in the area. Even in shopping centers you can see them crossing the street and cars giving them the right of way. We have been told that they are protected. We sometimes hear them fly overhead from a neighboring pond with the powerful sound of their wings and unanimous cry, and watch them land en masse on ours. Two months ago they had six young trailing behind, then five. By now you can’t distinguish the little ones from the adults anymore. Ten to eighteen of them waddle across our street on their way to the food source behind Pete’s cottage, then back to stand at the edge of the pond to drink, all in a row next to each other, then slide into the water for a little grooming. No idea if the water is refreshing or not, but it will be cooler than the outside air temperature during the day.
One afternoon, looking through the window at the hummingbird feeder we hung in a tree, our new “bird tree”, I saw a little head peeking around the corner of the patio. For a second I thought it was a dog; we are allowed to keep a dog here, as long as it is small, under 40 pounds. Then I realized it was a goose, and when I ran outside, I saw five more. I clapped my hands and waved my arms to chase them away, because we love to look at the geese, but to have them on our lawn or patio is a totally different matter. Did you know that a goose poops every twelve minutes? That is five times per hour. Multiply that by six (geese) and you will get thirty 3″ long productions in one hour. Multiply that by 24 and in one day… you get the picture!
For the same reason we are not going to put out any bird feeders except for the hummingbird feeder, which was discovered on the second day. The hummingbirds here are smaller than in Prescott. Many other birds are attracted by the container of water on top of the hummingbird feeder (which serves to prevent ants from trespassing down to the sugar water). All throughout the day we see and hear many birds, small ones, large ones and even birds of prey. Last week, when we walked back to our cottage after dinner, I saw a small bird chasing a large raven that repeatedly tried to dive into a holly tree. The raven was persistent, but so was the little bird, who was protecting its nest in the tree. I could not help myself and ran towards the raven, yelling caw, caw, caw, waving my arms. I scared him and he flew away.
When I walk around the track early in the morning, I see many worms on the walkway; by the time we go to breakfast they are all gone. The few that are left dry up on the spot and will have been dragged away by ants by the time the sun goes down. We watched similar cleanups in Hawai’i and also on our deck in Prescott. I love watching nature, to a certain extent.
By the way, the six geese did not come back to check out our back yard after I chased them away.
It’s a wonderful life!
Until next time,