Monday, March 19, 2012

Turtles In the Park, with Birds.

There's a new park near us with a lake and a nature trail, so naturally, no pun intended, Sue and I took a ride over to look around a bit. The new park is called North Cabarrus Park and is located just off of Orphanage Road in the Northern part of the County, which is where we live. It was great. There were turtles everywhere. And I love turtles, just as much as my friend Iona does. We both shared a love of the docile little creatures when we were younger. As a matter of fact, it was she who inspired me to begin this blog 3 years ago this month. So, I couldn't help but think of her as we looked at the turtles, wandering and swimming on a beautiful day.

There were scores of them. As development has encroached on their natural environment, they have sought out the ponds and nature areas in order to survive. When Sue and I first moved to North Carolina in 1998, there were turtles everywhere. Frequently, I was forced to stop the car and rescue one that had become stuck on the centerline, head and legs in its shell, afraid to move either way. Those days are gone, and it has been about 3 years since I have even seen a turtle attempting to cross the road.

The turtles aren't alone in the pond and on the grassy areas of the park. They are accompanied by several families of swans and ducks, who wander freely about, unperturbed by the humans meandering in their midst. This preening bird was only too happy to pose for the camera. He looks a bit like George Clooney from a certain angle, particularly when he holds his head in a particular way.(That's a private joke.) But catching him at just the right moment proved a bit tricky, as he was very busy picking at his feathers with his bill.

And he has plenty of company; hanging out with the ducks can be fun. These two birds were together the entire time we were at the park. They even went swimming together at the same time, returning to shore later, as a team. I think there is something going on between them, though I'm not quite certain what it is. But they were awfully close, proving that "Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime", just as Dean Martin sang so many years ago. Somethings, especially in nature, never really change.

Nature Preserves, and Wetland Areas, though scorned by some, are a necessary part of preserving our environment for the future. Without these parks the turtles, and the other inhabitants of our streams and ponds, would be hard pressed to remain a part of the eco-system which we all depend upon. And that's something we just can't afford to lose.

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