The weekend -- or something -- took a heavy toll on the ducks and water at Echo Park Lake. On Sunday afternoon, I noticed that the water looked particularly filthy with garbage on the north end of the lake (I didn't go down to the south end). I also noticed that the ducks and geese weren't swimming close to the walkway banks, as they do on normal days when people are around. This morning I received a sad report from a reader named Nick, who sent me five photos: garbage in the lake, two dead ducks and one dying. The white and tan duck, pictured below, is one I recognize. I think he was fairly young, but I will have to check with Dave Foster, who works at the park and knows all of the birds who stay for any length of time.
I was doing a lap around the lake today when I saw this sickly duck gasping for air in the polluted shallows where the lotus plants used to be. It was just sitting there isolated from the other ducks, showing no signs of movement except constantly opening its mouth as if to quack, but no noise ever came out. The duck was clearly having trouble breathing and I'm sure he/she will be dead soon.
Walking around the lake, I noticed another dead duck buried in sewage and another dead one floating against the walls. I couldn't help but wonder if the high number of deaths was related to the pollution in the water. ... Parts of the lake are a complete cesspool. Maybe it's time for the city to clean the water and/or impose steeper fines for littering.
It's strange that the lake should fare better during the battlefield onslaught of July 4 and days surrounding than it did on Labor Day Weekend.