Monday, September 29, 2008

Fall is coming!!!!!!!!!!!

Diane and I just like to walk in the Arboretum, as many other people from Ann Arbor do....It offers many trails along the river, in the woods, along the prairie. Many Joggers and Runners take advantage of one of the steepest hill in the county to perform their weekly hill trainning. The dog owners walk their dogs, most of them responsively.

Last Saturday in the Arb was absolutly pleasant. The day was a perfect autumn day, blue sky, a bit cool in the morning. Despite the Michigan-Wisconsin game in the afternoon, promising a 100,000 visitors influx of in the city, walkers were sparse, and runners few.

The Beach - La Plage

Birdingwise, we had a great time. Blue Jays were flying around everywhere, a Carolina Wren (troglodyte de Caroline) hopped over a fallen tree, a red breasted nuthatch (Sitelle a poitrine rousse) (our first this fall) was feeding amoung the pine trees. A flock of mixed warbler (blackthroated green, chesnut sided and pine warblers, plus others I could not identify, high in the trees) (paruline a gorge noire, paruline a flanc marron, paruline des pins) put a show next to the peony garden. The first white crowned sparrow were seen along the prairie. Rubycrowned and Golden crowned Kinglet (Roitelet a Couronne Rubis, Roitelet a Couronne Doree) were also seen.

White Crowned Sparrow (Bruant a couronne blanche)

On the way back to our car on the edge of the prairie, we took an infrequently used trail, both to get a little exercise and to get a chance to see a Thrush or a Wren in the brushy slope. Annoyed, I discovered a Dog Owner......with a dog unleashed.

Now, there is nothing that infurriated me more that wandering dogs in the Arb. Not only they scare ground birds, squarrels and deers, and disturb habitat, but they have sometimes highly variable social behaviour. Friendly, TOO friendly, agressive (I was bitten once by a dog in a city park 2 years ago). This is why I always try to remind them (the owners) to keep their dog on leash. Rarely it works. Most of the time they disagree, more or less politely, with my recommendation. This time, though, the dog owner tried a different strategy.

Me : "M'am, I think you should keep your dog on leash"

No answer. Ok, that's a classic. She hopes I will just give up.

Me : (louder) "M'am, I think you should keep your dog on leash!"

Her : (in French, but with a strong American Accent) "Je ne parle pas Anglais" (I don't speak English)

Now, maybe some readers of this blog have not noticed yet, but I happened to be born and raised in Amiens, in the north of France.

Me : "Bien essaye, mais il se trouve que je suis Francais, et vous devez garder votre chien en laisse. Et votre accent est pourri, vous n'est pas Francaise" (good try, but I happened to be French, and you should keep your dog on leash. And your accents stinks, you are obvioulsy not French)

Stupor from the Dog Owner

Followed a rather animated conversation, in French of course. Of course it did not change the fact that she kept her dog unleashed, but I gave her a hard time, and that was my main goal. Maybe next time she will go somewhere else, or bring a leash with her.

Following this rather nice walk, we ended up at the Farmer's Market, buying some heirloom tomatoes. The farmers thought the first frost are coming in a week or two. l

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