Thursday, April 14, 2011
Back from the Banished?
(Photos: "Hector" on the Reservoir. "Bozo" getting a lecture from me. Honeymooning mallards on their version of Niagara Falls.)
Yesterday, I was in for bit of a shock.
When walking near the Central Park Reservoir, I noticed what seemed a white dot in the far distance.
Whipped my camera out and zoomed in on the figure.
It was a swan!
Could this be "Hector," the glorious and then very gregarious, proud, swan banished from Harlem Meer, the infamous November night of the goose "harassment?"
I had not seen Hector at all since that night of terror at the Meer five months ago, but had been told by a park official that he had been spotted at the Reservoir the next day.
Well, apparently here he was again!
I wondered where Hector had been all these months? Where had he spent the winter?.
Part of me wanted to walk to the west side of the Reservoir to get a closer look. But, it was out of my way en route to Harlem Meer.
I wanted to tell Hector that he should return to Harlem Meer as so many people have missed and worried after him.
He looked so lonely and forlorn swimming out there on the mostly empty Reservoir.
But, I continued on my way to Harlem Meer, hoping that with any luck, Hector would return back there on his own.
That only I could assure Hector and the other birds at the Meer that no more "harassment" (i.e. using Border Collies or loud noisemakers to scare geese and other birds away) would ever occur again.
A promise that unfortunately, is not mine to make.
When finally arriving to the Meer, Hector was not there.
I don't know if, in fact, the wary swan will ever return to the Meer despite the fact so many people adored and regularly fed him treats. He surely would be welcomed.
But, perhaps Hector was so traumatized by the woman from the white van repeatedly crashing a loud noisemaker on the ice (as well as the piercing "alarm honks" of the geese), he had vanished into the night never to be seen again until yesterday.
I got the feeling when seeing him again, that Hector wanted to stay as far away from people as possible. His position in the middle of the Reservoir virtually assured him, if nothing else, a feeling of safety.
So, when not seeing Hector back at the Meer, though disappointed, I was not surprised.
The scene yesterday at Harlem Meer was however, as it has been over the past few weeks since the migratory Canada geese arrived and left.
Relatively quiet and peaceful with the five mated pairs of long time resident geese in their usual spots.
Ralph and Alice were there in the vicinity around the Dana Center, Ralph always standing guard over the slightly lame Alice like she is the Queen of Sheba.
Then there was the goose pair who love to dive under the water simultaneously, waving their butts up in the air.
And there is another pair that I have recently named, "Bozo and Bonnie."
Granted, "Bozo" is not a flattering name for a gander.
But, although this gander is extremely wary of dogs particularly, he nevertheless positions himself and his lady closest to the public entrance of the Meer. An area where the pair are more likely to encounter dogs and their owners passing through paths.
Bozo is quite bold -- or foolhardy.
Standing in constant alert beside his cherished mate, Bozo brazenly challenges any dog who walks by, sometimes approaching and hissing.
Yesterday, after securing my own dogs to a park bench, I escorted Bozo back to the edge of the lake and told him he was being extremely foolish for seemingly wanting to pick fights with passing dogs! A lot of people in the area have pit bulls. I am afraid Bozo will one day pick a battle with the wrong dog.
Meanwhile, his passive mate, Bonnie looked at me as if to say. "Don't worry. That is just his just his little game. Bozo's been doing that for years! The dogs here know him by now."
"OK, Bonnie. You know your gander better than I do. But, I still think he's being a bit reckless and potentially giving a bad name to the other geesies here!"
Moving further along the lake, two other pairs of geese hung out peacefully with each other.
And another pair were positioned further to the south west part of the lake.
That pair I named, "Shirley and Sean."
Shirley has tendency to wander away from her gander. Sean sits on the embankment and casually waits for Shirley to return. Since they seem to have such an "independent" kind of relationship, I wondered if these geese might be siblings? The two act more like brother and sister than actual mates.
Meanwhile, the ducks are all in pairs too these days and some seem to be taking little romantic ventures outside the Meer.
Saw several pairs of mallards yesterday splashing in the little, quiet creeks in the North Woods and one pair frolicking near a tiny waterfall at the entrance to the woods. I wondered if they were "honeymooners" enjoying their version of Niagara Falls?
"Romantic little getaways" seems to be the credo among the adventurous mallards in the spring.
Finally, returning home by way of the Reservoir, I looked to see if Hector was still there.
But, he wasn't.
Back from the banished, but only to return again.
Don't know if I will ever see the now very illusive Hector again, but I will continue to look for him.
Trauma is apparently a thing that never completely banishes. -- PCA