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Ramble with Storm: Gulls & galling

Mulling things on my morning ramble with Storm, the family’s mixed Lab.

Every now and then, I think the meathead might be smarter than I give him credit.

This morning he charged out the screen door, scattering doves, sparrows and finches off the porch. I don’t think there was a specific target, just a scamper to scatter the birds, much like a kid charging in a flock of gulls at the beach.

Just to scatter them.

Notice I said gulls, not seagulls.

As in flock of gulls, not Flock of Seagulls, the overwroght super band. Click here for “I Ran,” a perfect example of what I am talking about.

I digress.

On the Saturday of the Air and Water Show, we timed it to hit the beach at 31st Street at 4 p.m., the end of the performances that day. Each summer we try to hit a southern Lake Michigan beach at least once or twice.

And my daughter made me promise to take them before school started.

We could not find parking at the lots between 31st and McCormick Place, so I made a quick call and figured we could find some parking at 39th, a small, but obscure, parking lot. The beach there is technically 41st I think.

We found parking and it was cool to try a new beach. I think that takes us up to eight southern Lake Michigan beaches as a family: Pratt, Edgewater, Kathy Osterman, Montrose, Foster, 31st, 41st and, in Indiana, Indiana Dunes State Park.

In my single days, I did another handful in Michigan and a couple other South Side beaches.

At any rate, 41st was a revelation. The kids were old enough to appreciate the waves flying in, so they could be body-slammed on shore or go body surfing.

It’s a tricky beach for smaller kids because it drops off quickly, at least in the northern section we used.

Here’s the galling part.

A teenage lifeguard had to keep rowing in to tell a family to quit feeding the gulls. I am sure gulls crapping all over the beaches are not the only factor in the closing of beaches for high bacteria counts, but they are contributing, even major, one. Yes, i know the other factors, such as the increasing numbers of Canada geese and the human crap, literal and figurative.

But you should not have to tell grown people to quit feeding the gulls on a public beach in a major city.

Arghh.

With the kids back in school, I am up earlier and we are on the ramble right around dawn or before. That means more and better birds, and fewer squirrels.

That is a good tradeoff in my mind.

Blue jays squawked down an alley as we set out. A woodpecker hammered a wooden light pole at the ball field. I thought I could find it, but could not.I heard some Canada geese out in a field, but did not see them

Some fish dimpled both old clay pits. They were all shallow. Would have been a good morning to work a topwater or to use a fly rod.

A cardinal flitted across the old rail bed, now a trail, above the south pit.

Back in town, I wondered if we would run into the hawk again. Yesterday, we flushed a small hawk, which had something in a bush by the bank. I am guessing it was a Cooper’s hawk but it didn’t look exactly right and I couldn’t get a close enough look when it flew up on top of a pole on the roof of the store.

Some mysteries you just live with.