Some of my regular followers may recall that back in May, I wrote a piece about some new baby goslings that had made their appearance on the canal near where I work.
During the past few months I have continued to keep an eye on them and they turn up regularly…..every day in fact, at least twice a day to get fed. They certainly know which side their bread is buttered…..literally!!
To begin with there were 6 baby goslings, but nature has to allow so many loses, and the final figure became 5. On the whole this was an excellent result, such a good survival rate, getting through those first couple of months and being so small isn’t easy, especially with larger predators around. Through out these past few months they have continued to steadily grow and thrive.
These were the original photos I took during middle of May when they first made their appearance under the watchful eyes of their …. parents……Saturday and Sunday. The babies I simply called Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (not knowing what sex they are) don’t ask which one is which though.
Going out most days in my lunch break and after work with my camera became the natural thing to do, and it was very surprising how in such a short time they started to grow and their feathers developed and changed, and began to show up more and more like the characteristic markings of the Canada geese we often see and know.
These photo’s were taken a few weeks later in the June.
As the weeks have gone by they have become ‘very friendly and trusting’ . They do still however tend to not like cyclists and other walkers/joggers, and always remain cautious and ready to jump or fly back into the water should the need arise. At all times they stay within close proximity of one or both of their parents. They are all quite feisty, and will chase away any other adults who try to come and get the food from ‘their territory’. Their parents have taught them well!!
No so long after these were taken, another pair of ‘courting’ geese (who I named Pinky and Perky) who were also frequent visitors must have decided it was their time to mate. For a few weeks Perky would turn up at feeding time on his own……I did of course have my suspicions as to why he came alone. Perky was and is recognisable by a prominent deformity on his chest. Within a few more weeks, on one of the Monday mornings he turned up for his feed, with Pinky behind him and in between them both just one very small cute looking gosling. They seemed very proud to show off their new baby to me. Throwing some grass and little bits of bread out, the little one duly started to eat it and then later as they were leaving, and turned away from me……..well I will leave that to draw your own conclusion, but I decided as a result to call him/her little Squirt!
Over the next few weeks, the larger brood with their parents, and Pinky, Perky and Squirt continued to come regularly for their feeds. Some evenings after work I would often go for a little walk along the canal path on the opposite side of the canal to take photo’s of the geese as well as the local flora and canal scenery.
By this time, mid to late July, they had all got used to feeding directly from my hand, one or two were still a little nervous, whilst one particular one became very cheeky and would come up to the bag of bread and help him/herself to a slice or two thinking I wasn’t looking.
I began to think as the weeks went by, the survival rate would have to be good for Squirt. After all two parents looking after and protecting their one and only little baby had got to increase the survival rate. It must be more difficult for any adult geese to protect their larger brood, trying to keep them all together and out of harms way.
The week after I came back from my holiday in Devon, I saw Pinky and Perky together, but no Squirt. I wasn’t duly worried at that point in time, because as it was still fairly early in the morning, I thought they might have left Squirt at the nest or hidden close by. However, as the next few days went by, although Pinky and Perky still turned up for their feeding, alas no Squirt. It became apparent little Squirt had not survived, and my fears were duly confirmed the following week when I was walking along the canal path and met a regular, who also occasionally fed the geese and ducks and advised me that the little one had been attacked by a larger animal the week I was away, and it hadn’t survived.
Mother nature has away of dealing with her own. And although I was saddened by Squirts death, I’m also very pleased that the other brood is doing so well. Below are some more photo’s I took of them in July and August.
I feel really privileged to have been able to see these delightful creatures grow up in various stages over these past few months. Being this close to a canal has given me some wonderful opportunities, to not only do a little fishing again, but to also give me a chance to see nature at it’s best and be in amongst it all, and in addition to that capture it on camera. To be that close to something that so many either take for granted or choose to ignore, because so many feel that it is not important, is a great shame for them to miss out on.
Canada geese are a very common sight in the UK, and many think there are far too many of these creatures out there. But they have a right to survive just as we or any other animal does, and nature does have its own way of keeping things in check.
To have been able to have watched the progress of these creatures out in the wild has been a truly remarkable experience.
to this in 4 months…….mother nature at her best.
I’m only sorry I shall miss out on this next year on this canal, I shall have to seek out and find another canal that offers the same opportunities closer to my new job. And I know that over the coming months, with the seasons about to change again they will all so will be moving on to new territory. And who knows one or two of them might even be back here to breed next year.
Thanks for stopping by.