A quiet New Year’s at our friends’ home in Courtenay? This is what we thought we were getting.
It is a lovely location, near the water on Comox Bay, looking across to the peninsula of land that is Comox. The estuary that drains with the tides to nearly a mudflat twice a day, is replete with a vast expanse of ever changing waterfowl: herons, Canada geese, mallards, buffleheads, mergansers, and swans.
We were sitting fat and happy and more than slightly inebriated after a gourmet meal of fresh crab and champagne, awaiting the last ticks of the clock before the end of the year.
Suddenly, there is a flash followed by a distant bang as individual fireworks are set off in Comox and we rush out to watch the show.
Alarmed by the unexpected explosive sounds, all the geese, ducks, and swans start honking, quacking and braying out their fear.
And those trumpeter swans are loud!
The whole shore in front of us is a cacophony of sound. What an amazing variety of calls! Some like throaty laughter, some like accusing jibes, some like an old fishwife spreading gossip.
More flashes, multiple flairs this time, and the birds redouble their cries. Between the fireworks and birds’ waves of calls I realize, in Courtenay, you don’t need noise makers on New Years, they are are built in!