September 21, 2011
I spent yesterday afternoon at Rocky Mountain National Park because I could. (What’s the point of working for myself if I can’t take the afternoon off for no reason at all?) Fall has hit, changing the air and weather and whole atmosphere of the area within a matter of days. I have a feeling we may get an early snow this year, so I wanted to enjoy autumn while I could.
The leaves have started changing. In a couple of weeks, they’ll be full-on glorious. The elk were bugling, which I had never heard before. The ground squirrels were out in force. I must have seen one every twenty feet on the trail, stuffing its face with berries and chattering at me.
I hiked up to Cub Lake. I was sitting on a rock, trying to ID some interesting diving ducks (lesser scaup in fall plumage?), when I looked away from my binoculars and saw this:
This duck has been fed. A lot. To the point where she was angry that I wasn’t feeding her. She pecked and nibbled at my boot laces. In fact, about fifty feet down the trail from me, a couple was feeding the ducks, and shrikes, and jays, and anything else that would come take food from them. Which was everything.
This makes me so angry. This is not natural behavior for a wild duck. I want to come out here and watch wild animals being themselves (if they’ll even show themselves). And to get this instead? This isn’t an amusement park, people. Show a little respect.
Still, I had a lovely hike, and it didn’t start raining until I was finished, which is all I can ask for. I went and got a RMNP annual pass this year. I plan on wearing it out.