My goodness it’s been a long time since I posted. Lockdown brain, health issues, ennui have all been my companions for some time. Luckily, our home remains Covid-19-free, as, so far, do our families, for which I am grateful.
I had all kinds of plans back in May. I wanted to inspire you all, or at least help ease your days with photos of travel and little stories of life. But then, life became overwhelming, as I was tested and diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, on top of my Ankylosing Spondylitis. I recorded a few videos for my Kat Pagett Facebook page, but by July, even that had gone by the wayside. I didn’t have the energy. It got pretty dark for a while.
One thing that brightened our days in those months of lockdown were the Canadians and our almost daily visits with them. When they flew away in July, we missed them terribly. It was awful. But luckily, I had thousands of photographs to go through, choosing and developing to share here.
“Aaaaah, look at them,” he would say softly and fondly from his spot on the couch, as I worked. My desk is at our living room window.
Oddly, this year’s family didn’t have the obvious stories that other families have had. Dad’s Lieutenant, the Shy One, the Geminis, the Loner, the crows and other predators … they were all there, but stories didn’t make themselves clear. There was no drama between the adults. No hissy fits. No lurking and threatening avian predators. Not obviously, ,anyway. Not like other years that saw adults with necks lowered as they hissed, wings outstretched and running at the predators (or other geese for that matter). Things just kind of trundled along as the days stretched to weeks.
And so their story begins. They were born on April 24, earlier than any of our Canada Goose families to this point. I first saw them about 10:30 in the morning. You’ll have to squint to see them in these first two shots.
“The Goslings are here!!!!” I called upstairs.
“Already???!!!” he yelled back.
Truth be told, I was stunned. We knew Mama was on the nest; Papa had been on his own a fair bit for most of the month. But April 24 … that is really early for this little family.
When we saw the Gosling puddle by the edge of the pond, we decided to go say hello and meet them.
Mama and Papa were justifiably proud of their little bundles of fluff. Seven of them! We haven’t had a family that large since our first year.
The next day, we went back to see them again. We hadn’t been home and felt like we’d missed everything! This time, we took more wild bird food with us. They love it!
A couple of hours later, the family came over to our living room window to feed. Our first view close up!
As I reviewed the photos, I realised that some of the patterns I thought had been missing were actually there. On that first visit to our window, there were two, peering at the same centimetre of ground. Were they the Geminis of the family? I didn’t know, but the closeness between the two was obvious.
The following day, there were visitors. There always are after the Goslings are born; sometimes 12 of them!!! This year was much more sensible. Two pairs. They stayed for the day, then flew off … to report to the rest of the flock, I am relatively certain, that numbers are up in our little family again.
Also, I learned something, this year. For years, which adult is Mama and which Papa has seriously been in question, unless they were near to one another. At that point, size makes it obvious.
I wish I could remember where I read it, but apparently, male Canada Geese have a squared off, blunt tail, whereas females have a rounded one. Is it true? I’ve never seen that information anywhere else, but it does hold true that this pair has both styles and the rounded tail is on the smaller of the two. So, this year, at least, I have an identifier. In the photo above, Papa, with the blunt, squared tail is on the right. Mama, on the left, has a tail that is more tapered.
The neat thing about this family was how confident Mama and Papa were. This was already a solid family unit. No hissy fits, no drama, just a lovely little family.
A couple of days later, we finally were able to visit with the family again. By now, they were five days old and starting to grow out of the fluff stage.
I was really surprised that afternoon to see the one little guy go off by himself onto the mud. Mama wasn’t far, I assure you, and frankly, had some creature gone for him, I’d have hurled myself, camera and all, in its path. But no need. Mama had him back and all of them together in a hurry.
The set of pictures above includes two of the behaviour patterns I would identify. One, look for the pair staring at the same spot. Look for the one reaching far beyond her reach.
The following evening, we were back by their little beach. My sweetheart threw the seed while I took photos.
I love this series of shots. It’s about 8:00 in the evening and the light is spectacularly clear. But it was the surprise I had when I developed them that brought my greatest delight, for there, in one of those little faces, I saw Spike.
If you’ve been following our little family, you might recall Spike and The Princess. In 2015, they were the only two Goslings. She was always perfect and he, well, he had a piercing look and feathers that spiked when wet.
I’m relatively certain you will see the resemblance.
In retrospect, there’s always been one that looked like Spike. I see him every year. This year’s however, seemed a little more like him.
And so, we come to the end of their first week. I have hundreds of photographs to share with you. Almost 150 of their first month alone.
This year, our family has been my one creative constant. I may not have sung in almost six months. I haven’t been writing or painting. Hell, I’m at a record low when it comes to photographs taken. But the one thing I have done consistently, is get this year’s family of Canadians ready to share.
I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.