First Blush

Reflections and sightings from [almost] daily jogging at dawn

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Sunrise 6:10 am: Crazy coots taking over lake


The thick fog bank that appeared yesterday over the Coast Range remained firmly in place while skies over Lake Lagunita were clear. The coastal fog is the Peninsula's natural air conditioning, keeping temperatures 10 degrees or so cooler than farther inland and sometimes creating very breezy conditions. Not a concern for the water fowl feasting on the abundant grass now poking through the surface as the lake recedes. The Dawn Joggers were pleased to spot three more mallard ducklings this morning, although the coots still seemed in control and in greater than usual number. They was also displaying considerable fractiousness for no apparent reason. Something about being "crazy as a coot?" There are a number of theories on the reasons for this expression. The coot's voice is described as "quarrelsome high-pitched twittering" and one nature writer speculates that the way they make their way on water and land does appear demented. Meanwhile the National Wildlife Magazine points out that it's the awkward way they take flight that earned them the "crazy" designation while pointing out their effectiveness in warning each other about incoming predators is, in fact, quite sane and very rational.

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