I’ve been absent a while. I am sorry, but until I can upgrade and get more gigs, I’ve been hoarding space here. Waiting for today.
We’ve been keeping watch for days, knowing that Trixie was on the nest, going hungry to protect her eggs in the last stages of maturation. Norton has fed on the grass by the pond, a distance from the nest but close enough to get there quickly. That was to lure predators away from the nest – if he isn’t near it, they won’t know where it is. We haven’t even visited because we know that her desire for seeded bread will pull her off the nest.
Last week, we wandered over. Norton was on the grass by the far pond where the nest is, but as soon as he saw us, he strutted over to the near pond … where he could have his treat without disturbing Trixie. It was a conscious decision, must have been as he was much closer to the waters of the far pond than he was to the near. He met us a little under half way up the pond and we had our visit. Then we strolled over to the far pond to see if we could see Trixie on her nest. Norton crossed the little land bridge to the far pond and began to swim home. We left so as not to disturb Trixie. About half way back to the house we heard a loud scolding honk. “She must have smelled bread on his breath,” I commented to my sweetheart.
Every day since, we have steered clear, watching from the lounge window. Waiting.
This morning, coffee brewing, I checked out the window. And felt a surge of elation to see the whole family, Trixie, Norton and two little bundles of adorable down, feeding on the lawn. They are still egg-sized. While the ducklings have to wait a little before they are brought out of the water, the goslings are shoved into the water the moment they hatch and are taken onto the grass on the first day.
I hustled through the kitchen and up the stairs … “Wake up! Guess who’s here!!”
“Do we have babies?” came the voice from the pillows.
“We have Gooselings!” I said it wrong in my excitement.
He was up like a shot. By the time he was downstairs, Norton and Trixie had brought the little ones closer to the house. Every so often, Norton would turn and stare at our window. It was as if they were showing off their little ones.
Finally, we were ready to go out to meet them. There was no sign. I stalked up the pond’s edge quietly, looking. It wasn’t until my sweetheart spoke aloud that I saw them. At the first sound of his voice, Norton and Trixie moved. They slipped into the water on the far side and swam toward us. Bringing the Gooseling Twins to meet the neighbours.
For the next few days, we’ll keep visiting, but we’ll leave the dog at home. Trixie and Norton have reached a tentative acceptance of her, but we’ll give it a bit before we introduce her to the Gooseling Twins.
I’ll keep updating you on our pond families over the coming weeks. Some of the Mallard Ducklings are almost teenage-sized now, while one or two new families have been born in the past week. Soon, hopefully, there will be baby Coots and Tufted Ducklings. But today, we celebrate the Gooseling Twins, born at some point since last evening, which is the last time we saw Norton on his own on the grass.