THE FROST AND THE FOG
The fog rollled through the bayou today in moving sheets of white like so many snow storms of recent months. the changing, dropping leaves of the oaks caught more than they Kayaking Natural Florida
could hold and it dripped in a melodic plud onto the sea grape leaves that had blow into the underbrush below. without the scissors of the sun to cut away the veil the fog will likely linger.
The snowbirds; the swallow, willits, loons & bay ducks milled around like people in an airport awaiting the great migraton to the North. The White pelicans readied themselves for a long flight, perhaps back to the Horicon Marsh, looking like business travelers awaiting a flight, cool, calmm collected in their finest white outfits. Others looked more like I do in the airport..nervous, figity & jumpy. A marbled godwit reminded me of a foreign traveler with a long snouty bill; standing alone he keept to himself watched whirlwind of travelers.
The gulls of all things had the task of the dilligent gate attendants, willing to answer even the most annoying questions from a little blue heron that seemed to have lost his bags near the luggage conveyer belt made up of an endless school of baitfish that came out of a tunnel, rotated around the oyster bar then dissappeared back into the mangroves. "Many bags look alike..." Is that my bag? How can I tell? Occasisionally a childish noisy egret would run to belt, flap his wings and squak in frustration. He disrupted everyone in line til his prize was caught or until the gulls swooped in and shoood him away from the front of the line.
Right on schedule the black skimmers were called to the tarmak and cleared for takeoff. In perfect formation cutting through the fog a flock of at least 50 plotted a course toward Gulfport beach escorted by a dozen plovers, daily commuters you know.
I missed the early departure of our winter artists. The Brown Pelicans must have taken the red-eye to the flats and islands of the region. I'm sure their beaky luggage was tightly packed with fishy delights for the trip. They were kind enough to leave their artwork plastered on the south wall of mangroves, but like the frost of the North their white impressions will slowly drip into the swirrling outgoing tide.
A birder named charlie from D.C. moved with the migration pausing briefly in the bayou. He was on his way to the north too...moving with the frost line. I don't think he'd mind me relating him to this classy bunch of travelers? He dissappeared in the mist with bird book in hand followed closely behind by the Pie-billed Grebe parking attendant that kept things moving in order.
Today I heard the tropical winds from the South wispering to he birds - Time to go time to fly. Fly with me on the grace of my currents and together we'll free the frozen world. Time to go, time to fly to a place where the nests on treetops drip with thawing dew.
Let my currents carry you...time to go, time to fly and together we'll watch the fog chase the frost away. - Kurt Z
by Kurt Zuelsdorf
Dog days, dripping dew & dastardly storms are the reaccurring theme these days, but have you noticed the nightly noises are louder than ever! The approaching full moon pulled me out of bed long before daylight streaked the surface of a choppy bay off Shell Island. It was clear to me that noise pollution had built up in my ears as all I could hear was the distant traffic crossing the Skyway bridge. Then, like an inner ear plane flight pop - all was clear.
No less then a mile from Ft Desoto's dense foliage I could here them, ratcheting and buzzing to one another. Sister Island's swarm chimed in and the Cabbage Key crowd raised the decibel level above any traffic noise! Why, just this morning I found the molted shell of a huge fly-like creature crimped on the side of my truck tire... they're everywhere! All day and into the night the male singers flex their abdomen belly muscles against a rib membrane and with the help of a hollow tummy to amplify the sound our Cicada is the loudest insect on the planet!
“There are some that are basically as loud as a jet engine taking off,” said Jeff Cole, a Ph.D. candidate at Kansas University’s ecology and evolutionary biology department. “The loudest species can get up to 120 decibels, which is about the pain threshold of human ears.”
So if today's Moon doesn't have you stirring in your sleep you won't be alone, the song of the Summer Cicada will keep playing over, and over, and over again...can you hear it now?
Kurt Zuelsdorf. Writer, Urban Tracker, Outdoor Enthusiast at Kayak Nature Adventures kayak and sup rentals