Categorized | Harrison_Donald_H

The birds of Santee Lakes have much to teach us


Photos and story by Donald H. Harrison

SANTEE, California — There’s a lesson to be learned from the water fowl that live, and visit, the Santee Lakes.  They all seem to get along pretty well despite their obvious differences.  We humans may have our racists, but in the world of water fowl, there don’t appear to be any species-ists.  As the late Rodney King of Los Angeles riots fame might have said, “they all can get along.”

Pelican and Cormorant share a rock as ducks observe

Pelican and Cormorant share a rock as ducks observe

My neighbor Bob Lauritzen and I like to walk around the lakes.   Sometimes we talk about our different religious backgrounds– he’s a Catholic, I’m a Jew — but mostly we watch the wide variety of birds, congratulate successful fishermen, and get our quota of exercise.

One day we might spot a pelican and a cormorant sharing a rock. On another day, a heron and an egret within yards of each other on the shore catch our eyes.

Egret and heron share a shoreline

Egret and heron share a shoreline

Sometimes, a seagull will drop in on a group of cormorants.

Seagull and friends

Seagull and friends

osprey-egret 2

osprey and egret

And sometimes an osprey and an egret will share the same tree.

Yet, as much as I enjoy seeing these interactions, I also treasure moments when the fowl participate in activities within their own groups.

For example, I like to watch coots (sometimes called mud hens) on their determined march.

Coots on the march

Coots on the march

I like to watch cormorants take over a tree, so they look like so much fruit growing on the limbs.

cormorant tree

cormorant tree

I like to watch ducks as they fish in groups — bottoms up!

Ducks fishing

Ducks fishing

Ducks, especially, impress me in pairs.



wood duck pair

Wood duck pair

And who cannot but admire the denizens of Santee Lakes as they stand solitary guard over the sunset, or provide a foreground for the moon?

Heron at sunset

Heron at sunset

osprey and moon
Yes, I’m glad the birds like to be with each other.  But I’m also delighted that each species retains its  individuality.

There is a lot we can learn from the feathered creatures inhabiting the Santee Lakes.  We can learn that it is a wonderful thing to have our own identities, and still be ready to join in the society of many others.

Harrison is editor of San Diego Jewish World.  He may be contacted via [email protected]

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2013 San Diego Jewish World

2 Responses to “The birds of Santee Lakes have much to teach us”

  1. Dorothea Shefer-Vanson says:

    Wonderful photos!

  2. Celina says:

    The birds are my favorite things about Santee Lakes as well. You have captured them beautifully!


Please help us defray the costs of providing this free service with your non-tax-deductible contribution in any amount

Most recent 100 posts


Follow this blog

Email address