Monday, September 09, 2013

birds of a feather

Some say it was six inches.  Others, over nine.

Either way, we had plenty of rain in Melaque during the past 24 hours -- almost a quarter of the annual rain in my old sloshing grounds of Salem, Oregon.  And when it rains like that, my Melaque neighbors do not slosh through our streets during the rainy season.  We row.

The laguna in back of my house is a natural wetland.  With all of the wildlife joys that accompanies a body of water.

But it is also a potential flood threat.  Think of it as a dammed river.  The water flows down from the mountains and collects in the laguna.  The laguna rises.  If it were not for the intervening hand of man, I would be sleeping with the crocodiles.  Literally.

During most summers, the laguna is opened several times to release water.  That means breaching the sand dunes that block the water from entering the Pacific.  And when the dues are breached (drained and dirty), the water rushes out faster than a flushed toilet -- pulling the water hyacinth and lots of wildlife with the flow.

My neighbor Bill told me the dunes were breached early on Sunday.  By the time I got out there, my pond was empty and most of the surface plants were gone. 

After attending church, I headed to the beach -- expecting to see the tangle of plants I saw last year (flushing the loo-guna) when the flotsam on the beach was nearly a foot thick and several feet wide.

This is all I saw yesterday.  Pretty tame.

Maybe the rest of the plants washed up on some other beach.  If they did, we will hear about it.  After all, our bay is about to be invaded by tourists celebrating Independence Day.  They do not need to be turned off by piles of laguna plants.

When the beach is breached, my neighbors take advantage of our new circumstances.  Families comb amongst the weeds for fish, snails, or river shrimp.

Our skim board boys even get a taste of surfing as the laguna water rushes into the ocean waves and tide -- giving a far more adventurous ride than our usual bone-crushing waves.

These two boys have managed to combine two sports.  While swimming in the strong current, they saw a small crocodile that sent their companions scurrying to shore.

These brave lads took the opposite tack by trying to capture the crocodile -- to return it to the safety of the laguna.  It escaped their grasp.

The lowered water level also attracts new varieties of wildlife.  This odd grouping of birds gathered on the opposite side of the laguna.  The mud flats offered a veritable avian buffet of crabs, snails, and clams.

The white morph of the Great Blue Heron, the Great Egret, and the Snowy Egret are regular visitors.  The Roseate Spoonbill and the Wood Stork are not.  And almost never in this type of gathering.

In a comment yesterday, Patzman may have unraveled one of the mysteries of why I live where I do.

I think I have figured out why the heat/humidity hasn't driven you to the highlands.  The tropics contain a lot more critters than the highlands.  As you are a 9 year old (at heart), going on ?, the critters keep your interest. What 9 year old critter hunter was ever stopped by heat and humidity?
Well, not this one. 

I looked at a house today that may be going on the market in the next year.  I did not pay as much attention to the house as to the nests of crocodiles, turtles, and iguanas in the back yard that leads down to the laguna.

I may have hit on a theme here.

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