29 April, 2010

Jurassic Park.

I have been out pounding the pavement. Nothing to show from it yet, but I am not deterred. Well, not VERY deterred. As a friend of mine told me right when I quit, the right job will come along. This is all for the best.

As I am unable to run still, I went for a walk the other night around the Serpentine. For those of you not in The Know, the Serpentine is that little lake in the middle of Hyde Park. The lake is normally clogged with people during the day, but at night it is lovely and deserted. Not only are the people gone, the ducks, geese, and swans are much more relaxed. I almost stepped on a couple of ducks napping in the middle of the path. Most of the swans were doing their nightly oil rub-down to keep the water flowing off their feathers and the (normally evil) Grey Geese were standing on one foot dozing. If Birds used to be Dinosaurs, then Grey Geese were Raptors. Cute and fuzzy as babies, but when they are grown they will pluck your eyes out of your skull while honking. 

I am no expert on birds. I don’t eat them anymore, but I have seen a fair bit of them. When I lived in Bethesda, Steve and I would take the canoe out on the Potomac and on a quiet morning, you could get right up to the Herons hunting in the shallows before they would notice you were there. They were always on their own, the herons. Never saw more than two at a time in one area. So you can imagine my surprise after almost stomping on a pair of sleeping ducks to see a heron standing in my way on the path. He scooted to one side, which I thought was nice as he looked like a dinosaur and scared me a little. Then I noticed another, another and another.

Once I waded through the group of them, I turned back to see what in the hell was going on, and counted 35 of them. Vaguely lit by the weak street lamp at the top of the hill, dozens of these grey dino-birds were just chilling out on the hillside. There was a couple there and they must have been doling out bird crack, because I have never seen more than two of these things at a time and here was a herd –flock, I suppose, of them all waiting for something.

They were very polite and very patient. They weren’t queued up, just loosely standing about in one area, but it was pretty creepy. I am used to seeing a flock of Canada Geese clamoring for free bread from tourists. Hell, even the majestic swan lowers itself to scrabble for some free King’smill sliced. Not the heron. They were too dignified, too regal for that sort of behavior. They stood like guests at a black-tie gala, waiting to be served champagne and crab puffs. No squawking, no jostling. Just cool.

I am still a little freaked out by them. It could be the pointy beak and the unblinking eye. Or the Jack Nicholson slicked back haircut they all sport. Either way, they are a little scary, very cool and my new favorite bird. Until one of them attacks me on a nightly walk and stabs that razor beak through my thigh so I can’t run away while the others surround me and peck me to death then eat my innards leaving the rest of me for the ducks to poop on. I knew I should I have stepped on those sleeping ducks while I had the chance…

Author note: I had to go back the next night to try and get pictures. There was a smaller crowd of birds and I went early to get shots as my camera is crap, so it wasn't as dark.  But I did get these two just waiting. 

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