I realise now that the eggs had been layed at some point in early April, and Trixie was probably spelling Alice on the nest to give her a chance to eat. It would also explain why Trixie never came far from shore. If Trixie came ashore while Alice was eating, no matter how close to the water she remained, the eggs were in danger. That’s probably what was behind Ralph’s behaviour toward Alice, harranguing her until she got the eggs protected. Groups of Canada Geese will often work together in the care of the young, including sitting on the eggs so the mother can eat. It became clear in the ensuing weeks that Trixie and Norton had not had any eggs, so they are probably only a year or two old. Canada Geese don’t breed until they are three or four years old. This also means that the pairing between Trixie and Norton isn’t stable. Canada Geese mate for life, but it doesn’t solidify until there are eggs.
Anyway, because I know it’s what you have been waiting for, introducing the Goslings. These were among some 45 pictures I took in about five minutes!
It was early when I saw them and they were on the far side of the property, so I had to take a walk to see if I could get them in the water. Alice and Ralph were being pretty cagey with them and wouldn’t let me near. Trixie and Norton got into it as well, as if they were coming between me and the babies.
The next morning, there were not only five Goslings, but five adult Canada Geese on the lawn. After one or two attempts, every bit of prey in the area disappeared for a few days, it seemed. The fifth goose only stayed for the one day. It was as if he (too big to be female) was checking on the little family.
Later that day, I managed to get a few more shots. I wanted to record as much as possible in case the worst happened!
Later that day, they came a little closer to the house, out of the other pond.
We were going away for a long weekend to celebrate our anniversary, but I was up and at my post early, getting last minute shots before the chaos of preparing to leave ensued.
We went away secure in the knowledge that with four adult Canada Geese on watch, those Goslings were pretty well safe. Still, we couldn’t help but wonder how many would be left when we returned.
The moment I was through the front door, I dropped everything and ran for the lounge window where my desk now sits. The family were on the other side of the lawn by the far pond. Off the windowsill came my trusty binoculars for a Gosling count.
“Five!” I trumpeted.
“Really???!!!” came back at me. “Great!”