Ah, "Earth Day!"
But, it did not seem so on yesterday's visit to Central Park in New York City.
When first arriving to Harlem Meer at the south side of the park, I could see what seemed a white figure on the water in the distance.
Did Hector, the swan suddenly return I wondered with excitement?
But, when moving closer, it became apparent that the white object was no bird at all.
Rather, It was a plastic, flat box, such as might contain a pizza.
The beautiful white swan was replaced by a floating white box on the water.
But, this was not where the surprises ended.
I was at the Meer only minutes before encountering a family with a small boy (about six) who was picking up and throwing small rocks at two mallards along the edge of the lake. The mallards quickly scattered.
"Hey, have some respect!" I shouted to the parents of the boy. "Wildlife is not here to be tormented!"
The two adults looked at me, stunned, but did not reply. They called the boy over to them.
I continued to look around the lake.
A gaggle of 7 geese were in the middle of the water, swimming.
They looked around and then started loudly honking to each other.
All of a sudden the geese took off flying from the lake and left Harlem Meer.
When hearing barking dogs and seeing many kids in the distance fishing, it was fairly easy to understand the fast departure of the geese.
At that point, the lake was almost entirely devoid of any waterfowl at all on it.
While it was tempting to leave Harlem Meer immediately, I continued to walk around the lake in order to check on the six familiar, domestic ducks who are incapable of any kind of escape like Hector or the geese.
But, before reaching them, I first picked up a plastic container containing fishing tackle left at the edge of the lake. I put it in a trash can only 30 or so yards away.
By this time, my "mood" was taking a plunge.
But it only continued to dive.
On the north side of Harlem Meer, several kids had gone over the "off limits" fences meant to afford some protection to wildlife and were dropping loose fishing lines into the water.
There was no park personnel or patrols anywhere at the Meer to enforce so-called, "Fishing" or no tresspassing rules.
It seems "anything goes" at Harlem Meer on a spring, Sunday afternoon.
I eventually did find the six domestic (flightless) ducks miraculously still surviving in their familiar spots, although not all together.
"Carol and Connie" had just been separated by a barking, chasing dog just prior to me arriving on the scene and were in the water. Their other two flock mates, Connor and Cochise remained in the fenced in grassy area by the Dana Center.
It seems these ducks have not left that "protected" location for almost a month now.
Meanwhile, Wiggly and Honker (the other two domestics) remained with their wild mallard companions somewhat hidden among the marshes to the east of the lake. Most of the few remaining mallards were also huddled as if in "camouflage" amongst the marshes.
Only two mallards were visible on the lake.
Assured for the moment of the domestic ducks' survival at the Meer, I could not nevertheless wait to get the hell out of there.
The entire air about it was depressive.
It was easy to understand why Hector the swan recently left the Meer and even easier to understand why the geese suddenly departed yesterday.
Those with working wings have options -- something the domestic ducks do not have.
(Photos from yesterday's "visit" to Harlem Meer are contained in this FB album -- along with descriptions:
(96) Harlem Meer, 4-21-13)
Earth Day Weekend -- Jackie Onassis Reservoir and Turtle Pond.
Perhaps because I am a glutton for punishment or maybe because it was "Earth Day" weekend, I decided yesterday (following the dismal and disheartening visit to Harlem Meer) to walk around the Jackie Onassis Reservoir as it was on the way home and it was a nice day.
That was another mistake.
As there were only two geese at the Reservoir and a small scattering of mallards, I had ample opportunity to look around at the "new sights" (or sights previously missed for focus on waterfowl at Reservoir over the winter).
And the sights were not pretty.
Rather than go into descriptive detail of all the garbage and debris (mostly plastic bottles, bags and tennis balls) discarded along the eastern edges of the watercourse, I took an album of 23 photos and included captions and descriptions:
Though the intent was to walk around the entire Reservoir, I was too disgusted and left the running path when finally arriving to the west side. (How dare they claim the geese "make a mess" I thought cynically. Jackie O must be rolling in her grave!")
From the Reservoir, I wondered if things were any better at Turtle Pond which was not far away? Though the sun had just gone down, I decided to check the location out. Surely, there had to be some good "earth" news somewhere!
Though there are many turtles at Turtle Pond, there were only two geese last night and I saw no mallards.
Turtle Pond seemed to contain a quiet kind of eeriness about it -- including a lonely plastic cup left on the dock bench.
I took a photo of the plastic cup, but for some strange reason, did not pick it up and deposit in trash as is usually done.
Perhaps I had simply "had enough" by that time.
"Earth Weekend" it was not, yesterday in Central Park.
Blame it on the geese, others might say.
I say, "No, blame it on ourselves." -- PCA