Living on a large lake in Palm Beach County, Florida, we get to experience a variety of natural and man-made sounds every morning.
Since New Year’s Day fell this year on a Saturday, we had an unusual treat early in the morning. Depending on the direction of the wind, we normally hear either the hum of the cars and trucks Florida Turnpike from a mile away to the west or the street noise to the east where cars love to drag race or show off their noisy mufflers.
Weekends are usually quieter because there are no school buses and less traffic in general. On New Year’s morning, when we went out to have our early breakfast on our second-floor balcony, we were amazed to see how still everything was. There was not even a slight breeze, so the lake beneath us was like a mirror. At around 6:30 am, the colors of the sky were just beginning to appear to the east.
Due to the lack of cars and trucks early that morning on the Turnpike, the sounds of our resident bird population were heard without any competition. The limpkins were much louder than usual. Their “crying bird” call coming from across the lake sounded like they were right in our backyard.
Next to appear were the small flocks of Muscovy ducks whose familiar quacking announced their daily morning flight back to our lake.
Once they arrive, they move around the lake by flying very close to the surface, so close in fact that you often hear and see the wings flapping against the water as they take flight. Since the lake had no movement, this sound was even more distinct than ever.
From a distance, the noisy chatter of the Egyptian geese came next. They are a relatively new arrival on our lake. They live in large groups and their early morning honking will wake up even the deepest sleeper.
By 7:30 am, the sky was ablaze with orange and pink tones. At that time, we normally see the egrets,
an occasional roseate spoonbill,
and flocks of skittish ibises. With the exception of a short call by a heron, these lake residents are relatively quiet.
But, at exactly 8 am, the man-made sounds began to infringe on our tropical splendor. First, the drone of the leaf blower from the parking lot of the recreation center down the block. Then, the roar of the lawn mowers from different points on the lake.
At that point we could see that our sanctuary had disappeared. We had to escape to our indoor quiet so that we could remember how peaceful the past hour had been.