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Now That They Are Gone, When Will They Be Back?

Now That They Are Gone, When Will They Be Back?

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Looks as if the Canadian Geese can’t make up their minds. Reminds me of my sons’ teenage years when they blasted Combat Rock and, hearing so much of The Clash question, “Should I stay or should I go now!”

While I can’t be sure what the geese plan to do, seems to me that now that September is closing in on its last day, the geese should be following the rest of those birds that fly south. Yet they are still swimming on the lake, back and forth, from the south end to the north end and then all over again the next day.

The hummingbirds appear to have left. Those we’ve been feeding all summer haven’t been at the feeder in weeks. Our Cross Lake neighbor Lynn Voisine told us the birds feed until the 15 th of September, give or take a few days before heading to South America or wherever. Yet ours were gone a least two weeks before that and yet Lynn and Nancy Paradis still had visitors.

Lynn had given us the recipe for their food: One part sugar, four parts water, bring to a boil, remove from heat and let cool. The ratio of sugar and water proved successful in past summers, bringing at least two or three hummers to our feeder at a time and delighting not only us, but visitors to camp as well.

Due to the proximity of the feeder to the lakeside deck and the cushioned wicker chairs, one could spend many hours watching the comings and goings of these tiny birds. Teenagers have been known to sit for quite a time, camera at the ready, to snap a few coveted shots.

A few summers ago cousin Marianne brought her friend Burt to camp. It was his first visit, and Burt, a city guy living and working on his apartment buildings in Boston, wasn’t one sit around waiting for hummingbirds to appear. During his stay at Cross Lake, however, he seemed to get a kick out of doing just that.

The situation with the last batch of hummingbird food might have been the reason the hummers gave us the heave-ho. Instead of four parts of water as Lynn had instructed, we reduced the liquid by one cup. In our defense, we thought the little guys would like a sweeter brew. Traffic at the feeder was steady at the start but within a week there was no activity. Had too much nectar in the brew resulted in hummingbird hangover?

Geese have the reputation as bothersome primarily when they make a  mess on soft ground such as athletic fields and sandy beaches. Yet they are stunning, especially when they are not on shore and instead half way out on the lake. Their brown bodies and proud black necks accented with a white chin strap, they swim by in precise formation, much the same as when flying. 

We’ve seen them more this summer than in past seasons. Usually it’s their call in late September that prompts heads up.

“Honk. Honk. Honk.” Just when you think they’ve passed, another flock appears. “Honk. Honk. Honk.”

Their honking fills the air like the sound of a New York City traffic jam. Why, I wonder, do they draw attention to themselves? And especially during duck hunting season.

On a morning walk last week they flew over just before I got to the wooden bridge. A flock of them, I lost count at 30 or so there were so many. Noisy as always.

“Honk. Honk. Honk.”

Where do they go when they finally decide to leave Cross Lake? Perhaps they don’t fly south like the other birds and instead head north. That would make sense.

After all, they are Canadian.


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