Monday, July 18, 2016

harvester birds and cottage sports

Cormorants, they are called, but we have dubbed them harvester birds. Like a giant combine moving slowly across a wheat field, they cross the lake in a single massive line, scooping up all the small fish that get caught in their avian dragnet.

The lake, famed for its trout fishing, has lately been plagued with perch - a lesser fish amongst anglers - who compete with the prized rainbows and browns for food. It will be interesting to see what effect the sudden appearance of dozens of these cormorants will have on the area's ecosystem. Nature is an opportunist.

On land, we have upped the cottage gamesmanship, trying out the new archery set with great glee and more enthusiasm than skill, until we lost all but one of the arrows. We combed the grass around the target over and over again, looking for the arrows that went astray, but they were gone. We can only assume that they were shot so deeply into the ground (which has a slight rise to it), that future archeologists will marvel over the hunting and gathering culture that populated this very specific area of the central continental basin. 

The spousal unit recently found a portable ping pong game, to help keep us sane on those rainy days or - as is more likely in this area - those days when the incessant winds threaten our very humanity. It's not only far less clunky than the air hockey game that we have tucked into a closet, but it's way more active. The trick is learning how to hold back on your delivery, though. It's far too easy to send the ball pinging off the kitchen cabinets and ponging across the entire cottage when you forget and smash it back at your opponent. 

The cat, not surprisingly, is not a fan. 


John Mutford said...

I love cormorants. They're sometimes called "shags" in Newfoundland and the first time I ever saw one, it looked like a gargoyle, or an omen of some sort, perched perfectly still, giant and black at the top of a high cliff. It turns out that they tend to pose like that to dry out their feathers, so nothing ominous at all but they tend to strike an awesome figure!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Perfect description of their roosting/drying out stand, John. We don't have any cliffs at the lake, but we can see them on the other shore, high atop a couple of big dead trees. The do look very Hallowe'eny, especially at dusk.

Erik Donald France said...

Nature is an opportunist, indeed!

I love archery and ping pong, though it's been a while since I've shot the darts. Sounds lovely.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

It's grand fun, Erik, and our newly rediscovered love of the old childhood game has led to our following Olympic table tennis with great interest. Their official tables don't look any larger than our kitchen table.