Thursday, December 24, 2009

Western Waterfowl Conference - Sutter Buttes Loop

DATELINE: SUTTER, CALIFORNIA. The 18,134th annual western hemisphere waterfowl meetings continue this winter in Sutter County. Tens of thousands of convention attendees from as far away as Canada, Alaska, and even the Arctic Circle gathered for this annual confab. Local residents had prepared for the event by flooding area resources providing food, shelter and recreation for weary and distant travelers. “Even though times are tough,” stated one organizer, “we were able to put this together without negatively impacting our resource reserves. We really wanted to protect our nest eggs.”

In the convention area just south of the Sutter Buttes, the mood was festive and congenial with flocks of visitors milling throughout the area and winging from one session to the next. The chatter among those present seemed cordial for the most part and any language barrier that may have existed separating those from Siberia or Chile with their North American counter-parts seemed insignificant.

While a conference program was not made available to the press, sessions on climate change and its impact on habitat may have been high on the list of topics.

Scenic flights were available throughout the day on no particular schedule. Following a recent early-winter rainstorm, the air was spectacularly clear given the normal propensity for Tule fog this time of year. Once airborne, conventioneers could easily enjoy views as far north as Mount Shasta and Lassen Peak, east to the Sierra Buttes and the Crystal Range, and west and southwest to the Coast Ranges and Mounts Tamalpais and Diablo.

At one point, at least a section of the assembled appeared to be startled by what may have been a gatecrasher. A large number of participants seemed to rise as one frustrating the individual who reportedly sought only to be pictured with members of this gathering. It was thought the intruder may have been shooting pilot footage for a reality program planned for the Animal Planet cable channel. Identified as a Mr. Fox, it is unclear whether he had other designs as well. Security suggested that, “this happens all the time,” but was confident that no harm had come to any of the registered guests. No investigation is planned.

The gathering is scheduled to continue through mid-February with visitors coming and going throughout the upcoming eight-week period.

© 2009
Church of the Open Road Press

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