International Flights

     The Broward River government shutdown continues. As I sit on the dock on this cool October morning no birds are flying. A Tricolored Heron and a Little Blue Heron walk up the dock and stare into the water below. As I scan the marsh in front of me I see the grass begin to move near the waters edge of a small little area directly in front of me. I fully expect to see some sort of creature emerge from the marsh. As I continue to watch,  some stalks of grass disappear below the surface. A large grey nose breaks the surface. It is a manatee feeding on the crisp green marsh grass. Although it never fully surfaces I see the tell tale swirls caused by its large paddle shaped tail fin. It glides right beneath my feet in silent serene peace at it heads back up the channel towards the river. Behind me a soggy raccoon emerges from the marsh and heads up towards the neighbor’s bird feeding area to look for seeds on the ground.

     I decide to drive over to Goose Pond (a nearby retention pond) to see what is going on there. Evidently the International flights are not grounded as I see a flight of Canada Geese honking their arrival and glide into a perfect formation landing. There must have been close to 50 Canada Geese and probably slightly greater numbers of Mallard Ducks on the pond. A good number of these geese never left the pond this year. There is free corn provide daily, relatively safe shelter with no “gators” in the pond (yet), and fresh fish snacks in the water if they get tired of free corn. You can’t beat the weather either compared to northern parts of the US and Canada in the winter. Plenty of food, warm weather, shelter…hmmm sounds like “snowbird syndrome”.

     As I watch some of these geese “land” (more like plop) I can hardly believe they ever get off the ground let alone fly. These are some very plump geese! Also I note that there are few other local varieties of marsh birds in the pond. I do see one Anhinga and a Little Blue Heron in the area. The Mallard is the most common duck found in Florida but I expect to see some of the other migratory ducks arrive in the near future. Can’t wait to see a Hooded Merganser on the river. Maybe someone could call the Robertson clan in Louisiana and see if they want to do a Duck Dynasty episode here.

      I have nothing at all against feeding birds and other wild animals in nature. It is a human kindness many folks have towards created things. Nor do I have issue either with those that harvest wild animals for food. Some believe we are doing more harm than good when we interject ourselves in the “natural” cycle of things. We are taught to do unto others with the promise that whatsoever we have done for the least of these we have done it unto Him. That settles it for me. Be Blessed. Harry


Tricolored Heron watches for signs of fish below. It took a water taxi to get here this morning I think.

Little Blue Heron on the hunt. 

A soggy racoon heads for the bird feeders. 

A flight of Canada Geese honk their arrival. International flights are arriving ok. 

They bank to make their landing approach in unison. 

Time series sequence shot of the approach.

Time series of the lead goose landing. Four photo sequence used. 

Fat Albert landing, tail feathers dragging low.  

Touchdown! Whew!

Now where is that free corn? 

Did someone say free corn? Gimmee some too! 


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