Courting

It’s spring and the water at Frank’s Flats is only, today, beginning to open up.  So, it was no surprise that three couples were there to greet me and Max-man…all three on the same section of open pond; Common Goldeneye male and female, Mallard male and female and Canadian Goose, male and female.  I managed to get a few good photographs and had opportunity to watch Mr. and Mrs. goose participate in their courting dance.  Quite spectacular, but in some ways, frightening.

First…the Goldeneye twosome.

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And next, the geese and their special dance.

The two arrived and did a mirroring activity, scooping the neck down and up, beak into the water and then out, over and over again.

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Then, in unison…notice how their beaks are turned toward one another.

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Then, as if from no where, this happened!

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Mrs. is fully submerged here.

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He begins to move on…

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And he makes quite a scene about being happy and proud and ‘all that’…

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I guess she feels pretty grateful, also.

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Rituals at the pond never cease to amaze me.  By observation, I learn so much.  Last year, one of the nesting geese at Frank’s Flats became widowed and it was so heart breaking to watch.  The widow did not stop looking for its mate for over a month and mournfully journeyed the circle of the pond every single evening, returning again and again to their chosen nest site.

If one looks closely, even the water bugs, although their life cycle is very short, are multiplying on warm days and in sunshine.  I took these photos on March 31.  Every rounded rock exposed along the pond’s edge was a wellspring of activity.  Today, April 1, the stones were absolutely clear, with no signs of yesterday’s chaos.

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Narrative: First Snow

Goose! Goose!

 

Perturbation of the air.
I pull my cold limbs
in
tighter to my body
nestle my nose into the
thick grey fur of my coat.
Something stronger than the
icy cold pulls me out of
slumber and I
sit alert, hot air blowing out
white marks on the crystal wind.

The cacophony
draws me to the
waddling birds.
I see only warm bodies
satisfying quiver
of life, my life
in the first snow.

Quiet.
Barely a whisper
walking closer
slightly below the bank.
They are unaware,
pecking at the cold ground.

It seems interminable.
The journey.
The walk; the stalking.
Feet sink in white snow.
Louder honking, honking, HONK
I pick up speed, stay low…
the cold air on my eyes.
I leap into the circle of voices
and all is a rush, a flurry
as the birds, as one,
reach into the white sky.

I turn into the
dark umber growth
on the ridge.
Hungry.