Casa Loca’s windows are made of solid wood, and I enjoy opening those weathered panels at first light to embrace the awakening day. I usually open the kitchen window first to confirm that the daylight serenade was indeed given by the lovely kingbird. The wrens and seedeaters dart and forage in the dense foliage along the fence, while Amazilia hummingbirds search for the life-sustaining nectar of the opening flowers. Kingfishers awaken the riverside with nonstop chattering about the first catch of the morning.
Most mornings provide a feast of calming views as I open the windows and gaze outside. Every so often the view jolts me into a higher state of attention.
The presence of thousands of birds announces, “Urgent! Urgent! Something’s wrong with this picture!” On this sixth dawn of the new year, I scanned to see if my friend’s truck was home (yes) so I knew he had spotted the same view and had sounded the alarm. I grabbed my camera and bolted out the door.
Seagulls, terns, cormorants, ibis, great egrets, snowy egrets, stilts and even frigates joined the feeding frenzy.
I walked the muddy perimeter of the pond while Cesar (the owner) and one of his employees attempted to spook the birds from the far side. Cloudy days and rainy nights contributed to the low-oxygen levels in the ponds that sent the shrimp gasping for air at the surface. The attentive early birds spotted the easy buffet and the news quickly spread of an all-you-can-eat buffet. Soon Cesar defended his investment from the canoe while workers whooped and shooed from the edges of the pond.
“Is there anything I can do to help?” I asked Cesar as he passed in the canoe. I added, “It’s like watching a house burn – I feel so helpless.”
My heart ached as I watched the birds gobble their easy prey.
“I’ll gladly jump in and start splashing and swimming it it will help,” I volunteered with a smile.
He wasn’t in a smiling mood, though I’m sure he knew that my offer was sincere.
Pumps brought fresh water from nearby Rio Jama through a canal while Cesar and two workers supplied life-giving oxygen with a portable aerator in the canoe.
After an hour the emergency appeared to have passed, and the balance of oxygen sent the shrimp back to the safety of the bottom of the ponds. Later in the day, Cesar was all smiles as if the event had never happened. These beautiful people rarely give a sad smile…
Yes, they had a bad day, but we can learn from their example; acknowledge what went wrong, what worked and what did not. Adjust, learn from the experience, smile and move forward. Life goes on.
(Postscript: Please do not use this post or images without written permission and proper credits.)
This was written in nearby Jama, where I returned last night after saying ‘Goodbye’ to a great tour group of new friends. The Claro USB modem rolled over and refused to work yesterday. If I am silent, don’t worry, I’m home with the birds while the modem plays ‘possum!
Have a good day, everyone! Will be back later this week!