Jenny Burman Jenny Burman
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Ross's goose/Lake diary

Thursday morning, Martin Cox and I are making the circle at Echo Park Lake, 7 a.m. Martin is an avid bird watcher, and most of what I know about the waterfowl at the lake comes from him. This morning, there are a couple of dozen exercisers -- joggers, Tai Chi practitioners, walkers. Almost all of the people are moving around the lake in a counterclockwise direction, and Martin and I are going the opposite way. Usually, I choose counterclockwise, too, for no particular reason except habit. The homeless people have not yet arrived with blankets and sleeping bags to snooze on the lawns. I am guessing that some of them keep their things, and sleep, behind Vons on Liberty Street.

Martin and I are talking about the semi-rare Ross's goose who lives at the lake year-round, keeping company with the domestic and Chinese geese.

Martin says Ross, as he calls the goose, is a good example of a certain type of Echo Park resident: one of a kind, came from somewhere else, got separated from its flock, landed here by accident and liked it, keeps odd company. That's the gist of how Martin described the goose, whose gender we don't know. It's a tiny thing, by goose standards, the size of a mallard duck, with delicate features, almost all white but with a flare of black tail feathers. Most Ross geese nest in the far northern reaches of Canada and in Alaska. This one now swims close to Martin and I, calmly taking a look.

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