23
Feb

Today I saw one of the most romantic things I have ever seen.

We live on the lakeshore. My back yard is a roughly 3,000-acre natural freshwater lake. Sounds great, right? It is mostly, then there is the California drought which essentially added 100 yards of stuff to mow and a really long walk uphill from the shore. We actually love it. Living a watershed lifestyle is awesome, aongside a natural habitat for an astounding variety of wildlife. We have Great Blue Herons with 6-foot wing spans that stand 5 feet tall that have been here longer than us and some we have watched grow from hatchlings. We get these Snowy White Egrets that are so white they shine. They're always so clean and white even when the lake is a little green.

Something to listen to while you read. (new window)

Every year we get a new crop of ducks. This year 17 survived the winter and are coupling up now for next year. We have these great pelicans that have a 5-foot wingspan and must weigh 60 pounds; pure white with black-tipped wings. They used to come in a huge flock, hundreds of them.

Today I saw one of the most romantic things I have ever seen.
Some days are quite busy in our backyard. ~ photo by Wakitu

We rowed over to the bird sanctuary once when they were coming in. This pearl necklace ringed the lake, undulating in the sky, spiraling down and around and landing into the backwater pond. Literally thousands of 60-pound birds with beaks a foot and half long jammed into the little lake, squawking up a storm. The sound of the wings alone was simply so amazing and wonderful that I can close my eyes and hear it still.

They feed in front of our house. It's so much fun to watch. A group of them will form a flotilla, spread their wings and paddle their feet toward the shore. The fish run from them and get herded into a spot where they are surrounded by pelicans. On cue they all, as one, dip in and start chowing down - churning water and stretched-neck frenzy ensues. Then they stop, turn and push down to the next cove, "tightening the net" over and over until they've had their fill.

Today I saw one of the most romantic things I have ever seen.
Coots
Today we saw a few flying around, hopped in the Rumble Buggy with some cameras and rumbled down to the shore. We missed the pelicans - they had moved too far north - but we had our duck pairs and a few coots and gulls hanging around. It was chilly. We took a few pics and leaned our heads together and cuddled and watched the day end. As we got quiet a few ducks ventured closer to see if we had any treats (they love watermelon).

 

A solitary coot caught our eye. It was diving and we wondered aloud if maybe it was actually a juvenile grebe (because they dive and coots kinda don't). This little guy was staying under a long time, popping up and looking silly. We giggled and cuddled.

All of a sudden, out of nowhere, another one comes swimming up. Like, REALLY swimming up fast, head down, neck extended and barreling full speed towards the other one head on. We both were watching as it came up short and... BOOP! touched its head to the other one, soft as you please, and sort of wrapped its little neck around the other's, then they swam and dove together.

It was so romantic to us, cuddling there in the cool of the evening. Sun setting, me and my girl, sitting in the buggy, sipping coffee on a Monday night, necking alongside the wildlife.

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