Monday, September 8, 2014

A Solitary Canada Goose, Lost in Hampton

This morning, at Plaice Cove, the Phantom and his dog saw something unusual. The beach is never the same day to day--one morning sea weed will be a foot deep; the next morning the sea weed is gone and rocks cover half the sand; the next morning the beach is smooth as a newly laid asphalt road; some mornings there are clusters of sea gulls, some mornings there are none. 

But this morning there was a solitary Canada goose. (I have been told "Canadian goose" is not proper. It's "Canada goose." Go figure.)  These birds are more common than pigeons in many places, not just New Hampshire, as far south as Maryland. 

But they are always in groups. This goose was alone. No other Canada geese. She was honking and she flew up and around, circling the beach, then came back down and walked disconsolately at the water's edge. 

She struck the Phantom as being distraught, alone, lost. 

Tug, the yellow Labrador, offered no opinion, but he did not chase her, as if out of sympathy for her loss.

The other regulars showed up: the thirty something blond with her yellow dog looked at the goose and said, "Where are her friends?"  Bernadette, the German lady who walks Bella shook her head. "This is not right."  The sixty something woman who walks her chocolate lab, with a gray muzzle, said, "Bad day for the goose." 

A few years ago, a scattering of dead gulls littered the beach and they were followed by a wash up of dead seal pups, followed by a wave of dead adult seals. We all knew something was out of whack. It turned out to be bird flu which killed the seals. Toward the tail end of that epidemic, a deal tuna, all 800 pounds of him, washed up. Nobody could remember ever seeing a dead tuna wash up before.

Rachael Carson once noticed the disappearance of birds and connected this to the use of DDT insecticide. That connection has since been questioned but she did succeed in alerting us to the idea that human activity might damage the rest of the natural world. 

In this case, no human agency is apparently involved.

Hopefully, this goose does not auger poorly for others. 
Even geese must get lost occasionally.

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