Wednesday, July 30, 2008

We Got Goosed Monday

Late Monday afternoon I got a call from GG that the Canada Geese were down at the pond. Of course I grabbed the camera and hurried over to get a few shots.

Some years the geese are regular visitors showing up at certain times of the day to feed along the banks and cruise the pond. Normally it would be limited groups or maybe a family with the mother and father and 4-6 young ones. Some years we get a flock with up to 25-30 geese coming. They particularly like to ease over intothe nearby pasture to feed on the grass. Oddly enough the horses are usually tolerant of just a few geese, but when there are too many I have sometimes seen the horses actually slowly herd the geese out of their pasture. It's their grass after all.

This year the geese haven't been around as much it seems. For several weeks during the spring we would see geese daily traveling back and forth between other lakes and ponds in the area. Normally there would be just 2 at the time, but sometimes up to 8-10. Only seldom did they stop for a visit, but at times they would drop by the pond across the road to feed in the grassy areas around the pond. Then for maybe 6-8 weeks we didn't see them even flying over which seemed a bit unusual. We even discussed their absence, but we didn't really make a connection to the probable reason until we saw these visit.

It is likely the local geese weren't traveling around because they were busy with their new offspring. The mother normally tends the eggs during incubation while the father tends to stay around to guard the nest and family. For some time after hatching the goslings are not able to fly and take extended trips so it is only logical we would not see them. A little research revealed that during the spring/summer (and/or during the incubation and early weeks of the new goslings) the adults of some species even lose their flight feathers causing them to remain in the area around their nest. Of course we don't have a significant number of geese that nest in our area as most continue north into Canada for breeding.

Now all of a sudden the geese had reappeared. Evidently they had been there for some time when GG happened to spot them. Parts of the pond had so many small white feathers around the edge that it looked like a pillow had exploded.

This particular group looked like it could be a family group, but the younger ones were nearly grown as they were almost as large as the leader which I presume was the father. It is a bit difficult to tell the males from the females as they are almost identical. The male tends to be a little larger and heavier, but the difference is only about 10%. The leader of this group was definitely the decision maker and all the others just followed along as you can see below.
I took a few photo's but was hesitant to approach the geese too closely as I wanted them to become at ease with having a human around the pond hoping they would continue to visit in the coming days. They stayed around for quite some time before deciding to take flight and check out some other location. Or perhaps it was just time to go home for the evening. (Check out the character on the left looking around. Just like with humans there is so often one silly goose that wants to mess up a good group photo.)

Oh yeah. The green herons were back for a visit Sunday. We had all 3 of them this time. They didn't stay too long as there were human visitors around, but I did get close enough to get a few shots of them. Perhaps this one was too busy concentrating on the dragonflies on the
stick nearby trying to figure out how he could score a quick snack. I guess he didn't pay as much attention to me as he normally does. (Although the photo doesn't show them well there are at least 3 dragonflies of different types on that stick. That's not a common sight to have 3 of them perched so close to one another.)


  1. I love the photo of the geese they are beautiful....even the one who looked the other way. Where I live it is very damp in winter so we get quite a few ducks, geese etc popping by.....
    Lots of useful information tku Baker....

  2. Hi Baker...good goose post. The mallard drakes are starting to come back after their molt, so I imagine that the geese are done also. We had 3-4 family groups on the pond from about May to August. Last July, we found one dead goose and heard shots and then pulled two dying geese out of the pond. We think they were shot on the pond through the woods. I reported it to the DEC and local police and it was investigated, but nobody was caught. This year there are zero geese, now I know they were killed last year. It makes me sick.

    Love the green herons, I have an upcoming post of them

  3. cheryl - Yeah - they are great - I just couldn't resist that 'silly goose' comment though, lol (and it is usually one at the back of the crowd)

    Michelle - Sorry to hear about the problems with shootings - We don't get much of that here luckily - I think being a generally rural area but with a fair amount of houses is probably the reason - the residents don't shoot around here and unknown visitors would be spotted too easily

    Our pond is located between two fairly good-sized man-made lakes nearby so we normally get a lot of fly-over traffic at certain times of the year when the ducks and geese travel back and forth between the lakes - sometimes they drop in for a visit - unfortunately the pond is a little small to have residents but some years we are lucky to have a family that calls it home - the pond across the road probably has more residents as it is much larger and probably has better nesting sites for some of the larger birds

  4. I visited a park not too long ago and took pictures of the geese but couldn't tell if they are local or from elsewhere, maybe I'll post their photos later. I saw one with a small baby as well.

    I like your shots (not appropriate term used here), I never thought to call it group photo. :)

  5. After looking at the photos that I took, I think the ones that I saw are wild ducks, and they don’t have the long neck like the geese.

  6. I just wanted to say I love visiting your blog. I'm originally from Michigan and my parents used to have lake front property. We didn't get too many geese but we did get lots of beautiful swawns. My grandfather was a conservation officer so I guess that's why I like visiting your pond.

  7. Ginger - I'm not up on most waterfowl as we don't have a wide variety in the immediate vicinity but I'll check out that photo and see what it might actually be

    ladykli - thanks so much for the kind comments - we love to have you visit - sometimes I wish the pond were a little bigger so that it would support more geese and ducks with adequate nesting sites and all but then again the small size lends a bit of intimacy to the pond - and we are always excited when we get our special visitors such as herons, ducks, and geese (plus human visitors here on the web also) I can't imagine having swans in the pond - That would be so cool

  8. Ginger..the photo you linked is a Canada Goose. The neck doesn't look as long because of the angle of the photo...

    Baker..I really enjoyed the geese and I could identify them by the white patch on their faces. I tried everything to find the people responsible, but aside from the DEC officer, nobody was really interested as most folks hate the geese.

    We also have several ponds in the area that serve as overflow and help with flooding as the whole area is really a swamp. ....Michelle

  9. Michelle - Thanks for that quick ID on the Canada goose. I thought that was likely what it was but wanted to check first to make sure I wasn't barking up the wrong tree - Ginger just posted some additional photo's on her blog (see Nye Noona in the side bar) and they sure looked like geese to me. I left a comment and mentioned the same thing about the angle of the picture minimizing how long the neck looks. Plus in my 'group' photo the geese are very attentive and surveying the area with their necks stretched to get the best view. In the water and relaxed the necks do not look quite so long.

  10. Rambling Woods, thanks for confirming that it's the Canada goose, I was a bit confused there because it looks just like it, but the neck appears short, and it's not that big.

  11. Very good post. I love the photos.

  12. Wonderful post, photo's and information as usual! Yep, I'm back, Baker dear and hopefully I will be a better neighbour now.

    When I get my breath back, Baker, I want to ask your permission to paint one or two of your photo's in the future.

    Got to make my rounds but thanks again for always providing a lovely spot for bloggers to rest.

  13. tammy - Thanks for the visit - I just saw about 25 geese in a pasture on my way back from town a few minutes ago so I guess they are on the move again

    avril - you better get back to blogging more often or I may have to report you to the blogging authorities

    I would be honored if you wanted to paint one of my photo's. Just let me know which one(s). A couple have already been 'claimed' by some artist friends but quite honestly I'm not sure if I have posted those yet, lol.

    (One note, most of the photo's from the original weeks of the blog were taken by others, but virtually all the photo's posted since around the middle of June have been mine. The blog is actually a team effort, but I need to get the team members to post a little more often, lol.)


Thanks for stopping by to visit our little pond. We would love to see you again real soon.