What a beautiful and thrilling adventure our Wetland Wander at Stewart Pond was this morning! As all wanders begin, we gathered around dressed in our finest wet attire of rubber muck boots and good humor to venture forth into our wildland - urban interface.
|Back pond, about 100' from the nest.|
Now here’s the thing about nesting Canada geese. The females, once their eggs are all laid, spend most of their time sitting on the nest, incubating those eggs. The male, however, usually hangs out nearby to offer protection from predators. And in today’s case, humans.
So a funny thing happened.... A male goose charged toward our group of adventurous wetland wanderers and put us all on guard. This rather protective father not only stuck out his long neck, mouth agape, tongue waggling, wings flapping, he went for the pants leg of one of our trusty guides. I must say that it was a stunning display: Rick's leg extended, Mr. Goose's wings beating furiously, and shutters fluttering as shocked on-lookers weren't sure whether to rush in and save Rick or keep taking more pictures.
|Still agitated, but isn't he beautiful!|
Well, our wandering wildlife-watching troupe proceeded along our walk, attempting to leave the nervous father to his mate and soon-to-be hatchlings, but alas, the goose was not done with us. For the next half hour this persistent feathered-friend followed us as we sauntered forth conversing about Stewart Pond and its host of birds and animals, fungi and flowers. And at times, both random and unexpected, another of us would fall victim to the bites and slaps of this tenacious father.
And a not-so-funny thing happened.... This male goose followed us along the path, out to the road, up the street and into the parking lot, a long way away from his mate and incubating offspring. Upon our departure he remained in the parking lot as new arrivals pulled in to the wander the wetlands.