21 January 2014

Birding Outing Without Benefit to Local Economy

On Sunday morning, January 19th, weather conditions were right for a first-of-the-morning bicycle trip from Dundee to Carter Lake. With the expansive story about the grand Trumpeter Swans in the Saturday issue of the Omaha World-Herald, it was time to once again enjoy the fowl congregation, and participate in some wildlife viewing, using terminology used by bureaucrats that need to put things into particular categories.

The outing started as the first of this day's light spread across the hills and valley west of the Missouri River. There was no need to purchase gas, because the mode of transportation was a well-used bicycle, with a rear brake that was only slightly working, and not contributing hardly anything to being able to stop quickly, as is sometimes required on the hard streets of urban Omaha.

The ride of more than eight miles was mostly a smooth ride, despite the roughness of some pavement places. Particular attention was given to traffic and other possible motor vehicle hazards along the street route. Going along the well-done sidewalk/bicycle path through the City of Carter Lake did not include any stops nor the spending a single cent.

Upon arrival at Carter Lake, there were several guys fishing near Bird Isle, at the eastern extent of the oxbow lake. These sportists had a lot of stuff, including various sorts of the things needed to snag and yank fish from the lake, including small boats, augers to pierce holes, big trucks to carry everything to their destination and many other sorts of accoutrements seemingly necessary to catch fish from the lake.

Further north and slightly westward — after an unknown number of rotations needed to pedal a bicycle — there was the waterfowl congregation at the relatively small extent of water without a cover of ice.

It was a phantasmagoria of many waterfowl, with individual voices heard as given by so many ducks or geese during a spectacular grandeur of wild birds on a Sunday in winter.

The magnificent Trumpeter Swans were — obviously — the birds which got the first attention, as they are so uniquely prominent right now at the Carter Lake.

There were so many swans, with 28 the extent based upon two counts. Especially seen were the family groups, with the parents and juveniles raised during the season of 2013, going about their ways. As a family, the young appreciating guidance by elders that brought them to a "safe" haven for during the harsh winter season.

None of the waterfowl at the oxbow know anything about the "big story" in the local newspaper.

Whilst about Levi Carter Park, there was obviously no chance to spend any money, whether a nickel, a dollar or even some sort of currency in the $10-20 range. Incoming flocks of the Canada Goose, did not convey that there would be a fee to see them arrive in their full glory of sight and sound. Some Harris's Sparrows didn't ask for any remuneration in order to see them scurry among a bit of brush. A secretive pair of cardinals got a deserved appreciation at no cost to the watcher, while they do deserve recognition of their value to this park place.

Birds can be freely watched at any time. If there is money that should be spent, it would be a thousands or more to make certain that these feathered wonders have a safe haven, and that there is a place for them to thrive now and into the future.

The morning ended pedal by pedal — now that would be a stat for a bureaucrat to ponder — for at least eight miles back to the neighborhood. Then some pennies were spent for the electricity to enter the days records into a database, and for the time needed to scribe these words using an aged computer.

Benefit of this outing to the local economy: zero dollars and no cents. Personal value: priceless ... once again.