They arrived in February — a whole group of them.
It was like they were scoping the place out after the tensions of last year. We knew that a pair would stay, but which two would it be?
This is my eighth year watching them and I still haven’t been able to isolate markings that are individual enough to identify which is which. Every so often, as I scan through the copious photographs I have, I think I’ve found one. Then, I can’t find it again. Sigh. One day.
Anyway, March came and I was busy recording the albums with all that entailed, but I kept watch and as I knew they would, one pair prevailed. I don’t have many photographs of them together at all. In fact, I have a total of one and it was taken on March 20. It’s a little blurry over the female (on the left) because the glass is warped on the window. Sorry ’bout that.
Starting on March 22, there is a single goose. Whether it is the same goose in both shots, I’m uncertain, but I would see Papa sitting just as he is in the second shot repeatedly over the month of April, as Mama sat on the eggs.
Given when the Goslings were born, it is possible that Mama had started laying around this time, perhaps a day or so later. I have to admit that I do not recall ever being as aware of Papa’s vigilance in guarding his mate as she sat on the eggs. Last year was fraught with drama; the year before was a tragedy. This year has a very different feel to it.
There was another difference … the Ravens weren’t around so much. Every so often, but not worth noting. Last year, there always seemed to be four or five around, even when it was just the two (or four) of them, let alone when the Goslings arrived.
Throughout April, as I worked to get the album completed and everything ready for the release party on May 10, Mama sat on those eggs and Papa almost never took his eyes off the little island. After the middle of the month, he was never far from the island. This was a much more mature Papa.
Then, around nine in the morning on April 30, as I stood to get another cup of coffee, I saw them. Damned near dropped my favourite mug as I lunged for my camera and cursed the secondary glazing and old glass that I knew would mar my shot. This is the first shot of the Goslings. There were five of them.
No. Wait. There were six!
Six!! I don’t think we’ve had more than four Goslings since our first year when there were seven. I looked forward to getting to know this year’s family and wondered whether the personality types I had noted in every one of the families would hold true in this one.
And then one of them did. There’s always one.
There’s always one of the little ones that stays back longer than the others, so interested in food that he or she doesn’t notice the family has wandered. And there’s always a moment like this, when he or she does finally notice.
Yesterday, the Goslings were one month old as best as I can figure. You won’t believe how much they’ve grown when you see them!