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Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Monday, May 6, 2013

April Gossip, Fishing, and A Couple of Surprises


 Every year around the beginning of April, I notice a large number of birds  hanging out on these large power lines that cross the Puyallup River.

I didn't know exactly what kind of birds they were but I figured that they were probably there to go fishing.  Although, passing  by them at 55 miles an hour, I'd never seen them do anything but sit there looking like awkward teenagers at their first dance. 
 
After spending a Saturday with Alison, I had occasion to see these birds again, had my camera, and didn't have anywhere that I needed to be for a while so I stopped, got out of my car and decided to hang out with the cormorants for a while.
 
 Part of the flight of cormorants.  Do you suppose they're gossiping?

"Don't look now but I think that's Bob on the branch below us."
"If you ask me, he's always been beneath us!"
"Oh Muriel, you're terrible!"   


 "I said, DON'T look now!  Geeze, now he's looking back at us and we'll have to think of something to say besides, "care for an Altoid, your breath smells fishy." (A compliment if you think about it.)
"Well hellooo Bob, it's so very good to see you!"

For heaven's sake Bob,  just because we said hello, doesn't mean that you have to come up here!  "Muriel, don't leave me here alone with Bob or I won't speak to you for a month!"


This trio seems to be enjoying a tennis match.

"So then I said to that waitress, 'I've never been so insulted in my life' and stormed right out of that place without leaving a tip!  That'll show her for insinuating that my nose is too large for my face!"

"Anne and Jerome have just begun talking about splitting up and in swoops Arthur. Can you believe it?  The smell of desperation on that guy is enough to scare anyone away!"

There's something to be said for getting out of one's car, and watching for a while.  The cormorants were indeed there to fish.

 I didn't notice any fish in beaks but then maybe the fish were small enough to be swallowed quickly.

Mostly they seemed to do a sort of touch and go thing.  I'm imagining that their webbed feet are probably not their primary fish catching apparatus.  On the other hand, I didn't see beaks going under water.

In China, specially trained cormorants are used to catch fish. The video below shows the amazing fishing abilities of these birds. 


At least in the time I was watching, none of the underwater swimming seemed to be taking place.  Is this some sort of training session?


"I don't care what everyone else is doing Bertram!  If all of your friends jumped into the river would you jump in too?" 



Peer pressure is an amazing thing!

 
Looking up.

This had been the Saturday of the daffodil parade in Tacoma.  Some of the floats had used the road on which I'd stopped to get to the event.  Here by the side of the road was some of springs cheeriest blooms which, I imagine, had fallen from one such float.
 
 I hope that they got to be a part of the glory of the parade before meeting such an ignominious end.
 
Daffodils for us are now mostly a memory although my inherited  Narcissus poeticus or poet's daffodils, always the latest of the year, are still in full bloom.   

20 comments:

  1. I love your humor, Peter. What a cheerful post to wake up too. I had not idea the cormorants would sit on powerlines. When I lived along the Columbia River, I would see them closer to shore or on sand bars hanging out and fishing.
    Makes one wonder what the birds really do have to say? Cheers, Jenni

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    1. Glad that it brought a smile! The cormorants were really interesting to watch.

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    1. This is what happens when one spends too much time trying to rescue his neglected garden instead of taking new pictures for his blog and has to make something up really quickly.

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  3. It's for the birds of course. Who knew all that was going on up there? You are hilarious!

    I remember the amazing cormorant story and the entire series Wild China was fascinating.

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    1. For the birds...Who is the funny one now, Ms Fox? I havn't seen the series but will now because it looks fascinating!

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  4. LOL! Humorous post, and I ought to watch that film again soon...

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    1. Happy Monday! When do you have time to watch films with all of the amazing garden projects you do?

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  5. Every once in a while I think about writing a silly post, but you have any humor I might impart beat. Wish I could have seen these too. I'm always watching for birds in the air when I drive, it's such a distraction. If you see cormorants again while we're out, please stop. I've never seen one.

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    1. I saw these after we parted and I was on my way home. Believe me, if I'd seen them when we were together I'd have mentioned them! They're visible on River road between Tacoma and Puyallup on the power lines and trees several times a year. Yesterday, on the way to my Sunday job, I saw a few still there.

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  6. Funny post Peter, birds are so amusing to watch.

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    1. I wonder if they find watching us equally entertaining.

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  7. Sitting very still on the bank of a stream can facilitate some amazing observations. I'm not sure what it takes to come up with a running commentary that has your fans rolling in the aisles.

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    1. Sitting very still on the bank of this stream would have led to wet pants. The other part is easy, just listen to people talk. We get to hear all kinds of interesting tidbits while people are talking on their cellular devices in public.

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  8. Funny post. I see cormorants fishing quite often, diving straight down into the water, then flapping their wings to dry them. They always look so funny doing that. But I've never seen them on any power lines. Yours must really be the neighborhood gossips!

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    1. It must be interesting to see them fishing. This seemed much more like a training exercise than a fishing expedition.

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  9. You are a riot, Peter. A true observer of the human condition. I don't do that much out fighting weeds for hours every day.

    I used to see cormorants in the surf when I worked at Scripps, they would dive under the waves going out. We would see them on docks too, along with the pelicans. Cool birds. Thanks for sharing the photos and especially the quips. Such an imagination!

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    1. I should be out fighting weeds but alas...

      Glad you enjoyed the silly qips. Did you work at Scripps College or the company?

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.