“There’s nothing as relaxing as wandering around a natural lake throughout the magical seasons..”
I wrote this story in answer to the following prompts:
Ragtag Daily Prompt — Pocket
Fandango’s One-Word Challenge – Intimidate
#Writephoto Challenge — Picture above by Image by KL Caley
Word of the Day — Hesitation
Your Daily Word – Spoil
Lake of Birds
The cosy feeling of Tye holding her hand left Abby smiling as they enjoyed their walk. It was a feeling amplified by the frosty cold day which left the lake frozen.
Around the shores, the woods had taken on the leafless bleak vision of winter. The weather was cold. Even the seagulls had abandoned the coast for shelter on the little lake.
“The ducks look so funny walking on ice. It’s like they can’t understand where the water went?” Abby said with a chuckle.
“They do seem confused. The gulls spoil the image of the lake, don’t they?” Tye replied as one of the black and grey seabirds landed on the ice and skidded to a stop.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, they’re supposed to be on the beach. Not here with the ducks and swans. I just feel they’re out of place, you know?”
“I see. Kind of like a certain computer-loving technician, walking within nature instead of surrounded by his computers,” Abby grinned at him.
“Ha, cheeky!” Tye reached with his free hand and poked her belly eliciting a cute giggle. “I work with computers; I don’t love them. I’d divorce them in a heartbeat so I could stay with you.”
“Aww, that’s sweet of you,” Abby kissed him as they wandered on along the gravel path that bordered the lake.
“It’s just the truth,” Tye sighed, “It’s funny how people say walking in nature reserves is horrible in the winter. It’s really not once you get past the cold. I mean you get to see a different side to the place you know in summer. Pretty wintering trees, different behaviour from the wildlife…”
“Yes, it is still rather lovely.”
“No matter what, spending technology-free time with you, just makes it magical.” Tye kissed her.
“Being alone without screens and the constant barrage of notifications is tough these days. It is worth it though,” Abby nestled against him as they rounded a bend at the end of the lake.
There was a preponderance of wildfowl here. Swans, geese, many mallard ducks, even a few teal ducks, goldeneye, merganser, and great crested grebe had gathered here.
“Here, want an oat bar to munch on?” Tye offered having taken two bars from his coat pocket.
“Mmm, thanks, sweetie.” Abby accepted one and wrestled her way through the wrapper. She grinned, Tye was like a hamster. He always had some food stored in a pocket somewhere.
The couple munched as they walked along the frosty paths. Now, the sun had gone the cold air seemed to attack the fingers with numbing intent.
Those oat bars had an unexpected effect. Many of the swans, geese and the mallards waddled close to see what was on offer.
“Yikes! We’re surrounded!” Tye gulped.
Abby could see he was intimidated by the large swans reaching for his snack with their long white necks. “It’s okay. They won’t hurt you. They’re just hungry, you see they eat the grasses and algae which grow on the lake bed. With the surface frozen, there’s no way to reach it.”
“So, what if we don’t feed them?” Tye backed away from a swan only for a Brent goose to hiss at him.
“They’ll get the message and leave soon.” Without hesitation, Abby held out her hand.
One of the swans came closer and opened her grey beak.
“Abby it’s going to bite you!” Tye worried.
She shook her head and smiled at him.
The swan placed her beak over her hand, grazing her fingers gently before letting go.
“See, they’re harmless so long as you stay calm and respect them,” she said.
“How did you learn to do that?” Tye said amazed.
“My grandparents had a small farm. They kept white geese, like these Brent and pink-footed geese. There was a large pond with a family of swans too. From the age of three, I learned to feed and look after them. At that age, some of them were taller than me. Grandmother showed me how to stay calm so they wouldn’t worry. Like that, I became friends with the birds. Quite often I’d walk around the farmyard and the geese would happily follow on behind me.”
“You’re incredible,” Tye watched her allowing a brown-and-white goose to inspect her fingers. “I notice you don’t try to stroke them or anything.”
“No, that’s a good way to scare and intimidate them. Also, all waterbirds have special oils coating their feathers. Those oils stop them from becoming waterlogged which will cause them to freeze or drown. Our hands have oils from sweat and food on them. If we touch a waterbird, those dirty oils can break down the waterproofing oils on their feathers and kill them. So no, we only touch them if we have to rescue them,” Abby explained.
By then some of the birds had begun to move on in search of food elsewhere. One particular mallard flapped his feathers as if annoyed. Opening his beak, he said, “Whack, whack, whack!”
“That’s it, swear at me, I would!” Abby said giving him a funny look.
Tye laughed, “I’m not sure if he is threatening to ‘whack’ us, or laughing at us.”
“He’s a cheeky duck,” Abby decided as they walked on while finishing their bars.
“Thank you for teaching me about the birds. I don’t feel so scared about them now.” Tye said.
“Aww, well I’m just glad you didn’t run away. Maybe, we’ll bring some sweetcorn, peas, and lettuce to feed them next time.”
“What? My mother always brought bread for them.”
“That’s what most people do. Bread can make them sick by swelling and bloating in their stomachs. Also, rotting and wet bread lying everywhere just looks horrible when it’s not eaten. Corn, oatmeal, lettuce and things like those are closer to their natural diet and healthier for them and the environment.”
“Wow, Doctor Abby! You know your stuff.” Tye kissed her. “We’ll totally bring all those things with us next week.”
“Next week? Won’t you be working again then?”
“Nope, I’m ensuring I have days off each week to do other things.”
“With me, or the geese, swans, and ducks?” Abby grinned.
“Those fowl are a bonus. The only cute birdy I want to spend time with is you.” Tye beamed at her.
The couple stopped and kissed as a few flakes of snow began to fall around them. The decision to walk around the frozen lake was the start of some special times for the two of them.
Thanks for reading my friends.
Have a great day!