Sunday, June 03, 2007

White Geese, wildlife to the West on the Charles, Brush Fire

1. Teddy K with good photos.


I am resident of Watertown MA and just found you great site. I would just like to let you know, that I put a link to your site in the blog roll of my site. I usually discuss sports and politics on my site, but I also post a lot of pictures of Birds and other wild life along the Charles River when I see the while riding my bike to work.

Keep up the good work


2. Marilyn Responds.

Hi Teddy,

Thanks so much for the kudos and the link. Your photos are beautiful.

The swans were down around the boat kiosk near the Eliot Bridge about two months ago. This is the third or fourth year they've showed up, then disappeared. Do they go back upriver, do you know, or are they off to parts unknown? The photos of them with the ice are really very fine.

The cormorants and all the other waterfowl show us how much the Charles has improved. A couple of years ago by the Weeks footbridge I watched one take five minutes or more to wrestle and swallow what seemed like a very, very long rope but must have been an enormous eel. I thought the bird would choke but it got the thing down--amazing.

Someone commented that nature goofed with cormorants because they don't have oil on their feathers like ducks and geese, and have to dry out their feathers after diving. Then I read that the reason they don't have oil is that the buoyancy they'd get would keep them from swimming as long and far as they do when hunting.

As for the goose droppings, why not think of them as nature's own lawn fertilizer? Geese are vegetarians, so it's grass in, grass out. Their shit doesn't attract flies, is water soluble, and goes right back to the grass itself. A state biologist told me he doesn't recommend it, but you could eat several handfuls of the stuff and it wouldn't hurt you.

As an athlete you may have noticed the new regulation ball fields at Lederman Park in Boston near MGH. The unprecedented algae bloom there last August and September followed the DCR's installation of 6 acres of commercial sod last spring.

You may know that grass for such fields needs very intensive care: lots of fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides, and, in this case, fungicide. The DCR made a big point that the fertilizer used would be "organic," but nitrogen is nitrogen, and runoff from it and the other chemicals caused the algae bloom. In August the algae count shot to astronomical levels the day after the DCR applied "Tartan," a fungicide whose label says not to use it near bodies of water, and the algae count went up again after the reapplication of "Tartan" September 1.

All of this is by way of suggesting you reconsider your opinion of goose shit!

Thanks again,

Marilyn Wellons

3. Marilyn: Brush Fire.

PS: Do you know what's happening on the Watertown side of the river just downriver from the Arsenal St. bridge? I've seen what looks like a bit patch of clearing and burning in the reeds there.

4. Teddy with details.

There was a brush fire there a few weeks back. Here is the link to video of the news report about it: