Nature Niche: Thanksgiving Day on the Bay

Nature Niche pic-12-1-11

Special to the Parade

Scarlet Colley

Scarlet Colley

This year, Thanksgiving Day was a gorgeous day. It was a day of no wind, so our Laguna Madre Bay was calm and offshore water was pouring in with a ripping incoming tide.

It was a day of thanks for not only Americans, but our dolphins decided it was a day to celebrate for them as well. I felt fortunate that a family wanted to head out to meet our dolphins early that morning, so by 9 a.m. we were on the boat heading out.

We just only arrived at Colley’s private island, when four fins headed right for us, coming right up to the boat as if to welcome us.

We greeted them and I explained to the family on board that this is a very special tribe that lives here in the bay. We would only see part of the large tribe we thought. They were leading us east down the shipping channel and low and behold, more and more dolphins appeared.

My camera was clicking to try and document each individual we were seeing. Some came right to us, others came up ahead of us, to the sides of us and with the water so calm, I could see more up ahead.

What was going on was running through my head! I began counting: 40, 50, 60, 70, etc. There were no less than seven groups of 10 or more, the entire length of the channel. Everyone was here that I have known for years. Nubbins, whom I watched grow up from a baby and now has her own baby by her side, Nicki and Angel, the teenage boys, had a huge group of youngsters around them. The mothers and grandmothers, aunties, sisters were in groups. The two and three year olds were in their own little group not far from the women.

Dink and Abby were splashing and excited about something. We were in awe.

This was a family reunion, it had to be. The matriarchs were going back and forth to the different groups, and you could feel the excitement surrounding us. Why this day? Coincidence? I know that after being with these dolphins for over 15 years now, nothing is coincidence with dolphins.

So they must have been gathering for a reason. Why not s family reunion like we do a few times a year? To re-bond, to be festive and enjoy the bounties of life. And as those dolphins splished and splashed, they were happy, no doubt.

We could even hear them. They were all together for a reason, and by their antics it was a happy one. Later that day, I found them feeding on the huge bait balls that came in with the offshore water, and they were feasting. They were not alone for hundreds of pelicans, terns and gulls were feasting, too, along with most of us feasting as well.

We feasted that evening with friends and family, and as I savored the delicious food on my plate, my mind swam back to the bay, and what a day it had been for our dolphins, and their bay bird friends.

Fish had arrived for all of them to feast on, a true Thanksgiving day on the bay. Mama mia. From my nature niche: dolphinwhisper on Facebook or visit Learn more about our dolphins at the Sealife Center.

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