Friday, February 29, 2008
Green Hour: Lesser Scaup
We went on a picnic today. Plan A was to get some tasty sandwiches at a new sandwich shop and head to our favorite duck-feeding spot with a trusty loaf of WonderBread. After we procured the sandwiches, we discovered that a pesky construction crew thought that their agenda was more important than ours. A large pile of gravel blocked the entrance to the park.
Not to be deterred, we abandoned Plan A, decided that Plan B would probably result in damage to us and our trusty van, and moved on to Plan C: go to another duck-feeding spot. This one is not our favorite because you can get right up to (and into) the nasty water - something that a certain toddler is very comfortable with - and his mom is N.O.T.
We sat at a picnic table very very far away from the water (about 10 feet) and ate our mouthwatering picnic (Gram and I split a cheesesteak and a club because neither of us could pick one or the other, #2 had his favorite - ham and bread, and #3 and #4 shared a grilled cheese - we all had fruit and the kids had cheese sticks and cookies). A Canadian goose stared at me the whole time. He must have been thinking, "She's going to eat that cheesesteak in front of me and then toss me some nasty white bread."
We finished eating and Gram and #4 watched #2 and #3 and I feed the geese and ducks. We tossed some bread at a goose, but he just ignored us. We tossed some bread at the other goose and she practically smiled as she gobbled it up. #3 was joyously tossing whole pieces of bread at the other goose. The goose was no longer ignoring us. He stared at me, obviously thinking "Get your kid out of my face, lady." I pulled #3 back by his shirt.
The goose hissed at me. And I could see his tongue. Why on earth it never dawned on me that geese have tongues - well, that I really can't explain. How did I think he got food and other things into his mouth without any hands? I don't know - I just never thought about it. Score one more for Charlotte. This mom got up close and personal with a wild Canadian goose today.
Anyway - the lesser scaup is the duck pictured above. I probably would have forgotten all about the smaller ducks after the goose accident, except that another mom and her two kiddos showed up a few minutes after we finished eating. They plopped down with their picnic and tossed pieces of bread in and mostly just watched the ducks because they were already full after being pelted with WonderBread by #2 and #3. Then the mom pulled out a field guide. I thought, "Hmmm, why didn't I bring a field guide? Actually, why haven't I BOUGHT a field guide? She's a better homeschooler than me."
A few minutes later, it hit me with a jolt - she was ANOTHER HOMESCHOOLER. Gram and the babies were already heading back to the van to prevent wet mishaps involving trillions of microscopic organisms that we didn't care to learn about on our nature study excursion. #2 and I were picking up our gear, and I spoke to her - "You aren't, by chance, a fan of Charlotte Mason? I saw your field guide, and I'd really like to know what kind of ducks those are." Turns out, she is, those are lesser scaups, and she's planning to come to the next CM discussion meeting. We frequent the same parks and library, so we'll may run into each other again before then.
But, because I was a bit scattered, I can't remember her name. It starts with a T, and it's a bit unusual. Hopefully she's come to the discussion group so I can meet her again and look like less of an idiot than I did while I was being hissed at by a goose.