“Argue for your limitations and, sure enough, they’re yours.”
~Richard Bach, Illusions
The punchline is, “I call him Tiny because he’s my newt (minute)!” but he’s not really my newt.
The late Dr. Allen Foley, Professor Emeritus of History at Dartmouth College, related a story in his book, “What the Old-Timer Said”, about a local boy who came across a boy from the city who was tormenting a toad.
“Put that toad down,” he said.
“Why should I?” asked the city boy. “He’s my toad, ain’t he?”
“No, he ain’t,” replied the local lad. “This is Vermont. He is his own toad.”
Safe travels, Tiny.
(We’ve paid tribute to the Celebrated Professor Foley before, back in 2014, in a post about Vermont Town Meeting Day (see Hibernation Ends and How Did You Know My Name Was Mac?) . This year’s meeting is still more than a month away but already some people have taken to running serpentine routes from from the Post Office, ducking for cover behind parked cars or trees on the green when necessary.)
The geese may start the season with a dozen little goslings but by the end of May they’re getting a little twitchy and a lot less cavalier about things eating their babies.
Some will tough it out, doing what they can to at least have something to show for their great expenditure of effort, but others will leave with whatever remains of their brood, heading overland in search of safer water. Things must be pretty bad if geese are willing to risk walking their last child through the woods, but it makes a certain sense.
These guys don’t run very fast.
Two eggs hatched in 2014. Both chicks survived, thrived and fledged, taking off in October for a few years at sea. The Vermont Center for Ecostudies has learned that loons return to places very close to where they were raised, even after all that time and having only seen home from the air once, as they were flying away.
The geese and mergansers of Fish in a Barrel Pond begin the season with dozens of goslings and ducklings. Those numbers dwindle quickly, though, as snapping turtles, otters and mink take their toll. They rely on sheer numbers in spring to leave one or two youngsters still swimming come fall. When danger strikes they scatter, every bird for itself, and if one or two of your brothers or sisters get picked off, at least it wasn’t you.
The loons, however, lay only one egg, maybe two, with one serving as an insurance policy, should something happen to the other. Something usually does. One egg hatched this spring, one egg did not, and we were able to get to the one that didn’t before it was snatched up by an otter, mink, heron or crow.
Wrapped up in paper towels and tape, it was labeled and frozen before being picked up by the Vermont Center for Ecostudies for further, um, study.
There is a challenge going on over at facebook, where people are asked to post a nature photo every day for seven days and challenge another person to do so each day. Challenged by Ken G of Waterdog Journal fame, my first photo went up last evening but not without issue. You can see it by heading to the Quill Gordon page on facebook, or take a peek at it in our last post Cold and Cold Running Water. It’s the middle one of the three, the one Mike Sepelak liked, showing that, despite rumors to the contrary, he is capable of demonstrating good taste from time to time.
Because 1) I don’t have the authority to tell anyone else what to do, 2) can’t seem to link to anyone on facebook even if I did have the aforementioned authority, and 3) I feel much more comfortable here, letting things get posted there automatically, I call on all seven readers of this blog to post their own photos and issue challenges to anyone they wish.
With that part of the challenge covered, here is my photo for Day 2, some lovely fungus I found while wandering around on an exceptionally mild December afternoon: