Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Celebrating a Holiday Weekend -- They're BACK!

The holiday weekend began with a bang this past Saturday night.
That is when going to Harlem Meer, I suddenly discovered two new geese!
It seemed a bit strange at first that the two geese resting on the south embankment showed no reaction to my dogs.
Is Bozo chilling out?  He seems so mellow tonight!
Indeed, neither goose even looked at Tina or Chance.
But, then I noticed what surely had to be Bozo and Bonnie in the middle of the lake (their usual location in the evening).    I realized then, the two geese I was looking at were either new or returnees to the Meer.
But then, upon seeing me (and my dogs) Bozo, as usual, began to swim in my direction.
Oh, oh.....That's not going to be good for the new geese here!
And no, it surely wasn't good for the new arrivals.
As soon as he hit the embankment, Bozo immediately went after the new gander!
Wings flapping, loud honks and running take-offs.
Both geese hit the water with a good deal of commotion and flapping feathers!
Then, feeling victorious on having chased his new nemisis away, Bozo returned to the embankment, madly flapping his wings in wild celebration.
"There!  That' ill show 'em!"
But, Bozo didn't realize that the new gander was a bit stubborn and willful, too.
Rather than retreating, the new gander simply swam in a circle and then returned to his mate still standing on the embankment.   He too, flapped his wings when victoriously approaching his admiring lady love:
 "See?  I ain't gonna let us be chased from here!"
Bozo was preparing to charge again!
But, this time I got in between him and the new arrivals with a stern message:
"Now, Bozo, we cannot have that!  This is a BIG lake.  You need to be willing to SHARE it with your brethren!"  
The message seemed to work -- at least for the time being.
Bozo settled down and I gave him some reward for this good behavior.
There was another minor scuffle or two, but eventually all three geese kept peacefully to their respective sides and ultimately Bozo left to return to Bonnie still sitting abandoned, in the middle of the lake.
I am convinced now that Bonnie must ask herself daily, "How did I ever get stuck with this bozo of a gander?  He's always carousing and going off on jaunts every night!  
Poor Bonnie. She is the goose counterpart to, "football widow."
Fast forward to last night:
Memorial Day -- the ending of the holiday weekend.
Even at 8 PM, Central Park was still bustling with thousands of picnickers and families.
There was the celebratory and holiday spirit bristling through the still and very warm air.
I wasn't sure of what I would find when arriving back to Harlem Meer.
Had Bozo succeeded in sending the two new geese packing?
Were the few remaining waterfowl on the lake freaked out by all the human activity of the past couple of days, including endless fishing?
How were Brad and Angelina doing?
I was a little more than concerned about all these things, but as so often happens in these observations and endeavors, one can be in for some dramatic surprises:
It was in fact, ONE BIG PARTY when getting to Harlem Meer last night-- a party that INCLUDED a whole bunch of new waterfowl!
Imagine the shock when counting ten geese and at least a dozen new ducks at Harlem Meer!
There was even a mama mallard with four tiny ducklings swimming around in the middle of all the new avian commotion!
I could not believe my eyes!
Wow, where did all you guys come from?
Seven of the geese were either up on or very near the east embankment of the lake. 
One of them had to be Bozo.
Bozo was so busy trying to throw his weight and status around with the new geese, he did not even look at my two dogs.  Indeed, it must have been exhausting chasing this goose and that one.  But, because the new geese outnumbered him, they simply returned and seemed to have the last laugh at poor Bozo's expense.
"Ha, ha.  What's with this ol' gander anyway?  Man, you'd think he'd get tired by now!  But, that's OK.  We can indulge him!"
Turning from the silly goose games, I tossed some treats to the new mallard family.
But, perhaps I need not have worried so over mama duck who I have since named, "Jillian" after the aggressive, highly charged fitness instructor on, "The Biggest Loser."
Jillian it seems, is one very tough and 'fit" duck.
Any goose who dared try and steal Mama's and baby's treats was quickly and fiercely admonished and sent packing with feathers between legs. 
For a small bird who is barely 1/4 of the size of a Canada goose, Jillian packs quite the wallop.  As said many times, mallards can be surprisingly tough birds.  Its amazing to see a Canada goose flee from a tiny mallard -- especially one with babies.  But, that is exactly what happened.
Meanwhile, Brad and Angelina (the two domestic, flightless ducks) came also to the embankment, announcing their arrival with loud chattering and formidable body posture. 
Brad wasn't so interested in intimidating geese, as he was throwing his weight around with the other ducks.
Endlessly chattering away, both Brad and Angelina stalked and chased a bunch of hapless drakes from the embankment.
"Quick, begone with you!  Worthless mallards!   Move your butts to the other side of the lake!"
Oh well.  Brad has been that way since the beginning of spring. If the other ducks don't "get it" by now at Harlem Meer, they never will.   Brad and Angelina may rule with flightless wings, but those wings are, in fact, made of iron!
Meanwhile, it seems that even the fishes caught a break last night.
Oh sure, there were fisherman.  But, at least the ones I saw were using the shorter lines.
They were easy enough for the birds and presumably even the fish to swim away from and avoid.
So yes, it was quite the party last night at Harlem Meer.
But, I ain't talking about the people parties or holiday picnics.
I am talking about the geese and mallards who blessfully made it back to Central Park to celebrate the holiday weekend.
They're Back!
And hopefully, they all stay -- at least until the bloody, USDA goose roundups and gassings around the city this June are no more.
Ah, that they would never again occur in New York City!
But, is that wishing for a never-ending, holiday party?
Indeed it is!
Boy, I bet all the birds at Harlem Meer slept good last night.  ;)  -- PCA

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