Monday, August 6, 2012

Alone -- A Solitary Goose Waits....

(Photo:  Annie, alone last night at Turtle Pond. On diligent watch and lookout for something.-- But, what?)

A rain storm blew into New York City last night, temporarily putting a refreshing damper on the oppressive heat.

By the time I left with my dogs for Central Park, the rain had trickled down to a few light showers creating a surprisingly pleasant evening.

There was hardly a soul in the park, giving it the quiet and peaceful aura most associated with winter evenings.

Except for some light breezes swaying leaves on trees, nothing stirred.   Even the Jackie Onassis Reservoir, appeared like a still, inky black mirror with depths going on forever.

It had been a while since I walked around the Great Lawn at night.

The lack of people and the quietness of the evening reminded me of the time two years ago, when seeing a coyote magically appear and fly over the fencing surrounding the Great Lawn like a deer.

Upon seeing my dogs and me, the coyote then crouched low in the grass and never moved a hair until my dogs and I moved away.

But, there was no coyote last night.

In fact, I did not see any "critters" at all -- until arriving to Turtle Pond.

And then there was only one.

But, at first, I did not even see the one.

Turtle Pond, covered by light green duck weed in the summer, appeared like a pastel painting under the somewhat milky, weeping skies.

Surprised not to see any mallards on the water, I surmised that they must be resting or even seeking shelter from the rain amongst the marshes, weeds and plants surrounding Turtle Pond. 

As popular as the saying, "like water off a duck's back," it doesn't seem in reality, that ducks actually enjoy rain that much.   If they have means to avoid it, they do.

Figuring that the lone goose, "Annie" was either with the mallards or perhaps had flown away from Turtle Pond, I was about to leave when spotting something that appeared like a white chin strap against the one dark spot in the water.  

Walking closer, I was surprised to discover the very still "object" was in fact, Annie.

The Canada goose had not moved so much as a feather during the entire five minutes that I had been standing there.

"Hi Annie.  What are you doing here all alone?  Where are all your mallard buddies?"

Not directly answering me (of course), Annie nevertheless moved from her nearby position on the water and actually used her wings to fly on the rock where I was standing.

It seemed she was grateful for a little company.

I reached in my bag and tossed some treats to Annie

But, not particularly hungry, Annie ate a few seeds and nuts and then just stood on the edge of the rock intensely peering out over the still water -- as if looking for something.

Sitting some feet away from Annie, I was struck by how forlorn and "alone" she looked.

In the several years of closely observing Canada geese, I have never actually seen one entirely alone before. -- Without even a duck nearby.

It seemed apparent that Annie came to the rock, not for treat or even acknowledging me so much as to simply spend a little time with another familiar life form.

And so I stayed for about 15 minutes despite the rain falling a little heavier. Both, Annie and I peered out on the quiet pond together, though presumably for different reasons.

At least between myself and my two dogs sitting with me, Annie wasn't completely alone and she seemed to be temporarily comforted by that.

But, eventually I had to leave.

Annie remained quietly standing in a dark space by the water's edge.  Were any "threat" to suddenly present itself, it would be easy for Annie to jump into the water.

It occurred to me that the reason Annie was probably not with the mallards, is because unlike ducks, geese seem to always need "open spaces" and full viewing range in order to see possible predators. Vigilance is key to geese and that might be even more true of a solitary goose than geese with a flock who can take turns keeping vigilance.

One wonders how a goose like Annie (without flock mates) is able to get any actual rest?

As I left Turtle Pond, Annie was still posed, like a soldier on lookout, at the rock's edge keeping careful watch out for something.

But, I could not be sure if that "something" was potential threat and danger -- or her lost flock longfully flying over the park?

Walking home from Central Park, I did not see or hear any "flying V's" of geese overhead and indeed, did not see another animal.

To my knowledge, there are presently only three geese in Central Park. 

All three of them are in different locations and all three of them are on their own.

If waiting, watching and hoping for reunion with her lost gaggle, Annie could have a very long wait.

Though completely alien to geese, "alone" might be a condition Annie (and others) has to adapt and get used to.  -- PCA


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