Aki has the sense to shelter behind a driftwood windbreak. Wanting to photograph a group of exhausted looking waterfowl, I let the wind chill me and shake my camera as I point it at the birds. One stands on one leg. The rest have flattened themselves against a mid-channel gravel bar. All, even the standing one, have tucked their beaks into their back feathers. The birds don’t flinch when a dog barrels down the beach on the opposite shore of the river.
The photos I take will be too blurry for me to identify the tired birds. I know that they are not part of the Canada goose gang that winters in the rain forest. They are nattering just upriver from the sleeping geese. I see a slash of white on one bird. Maybe they are brants. Rest while you can travelers. The flood tide will flush you off the gravelbar in a few hours.
The local Canadians huddle fifty meters away. Their watchman honks out an alarm when another dog bursts out of the opposite shore woods and gall lumps toward the river. The locals form a single file line behind the watchman and trot away from the dog.
Two other Canada geese linger on their own in the middle of a different gravel bar. When spooked by a pair of hikers, the geese flee. I expect them to join their cousins. But they spiral up until high above the river, then fly up river to a quieter place.