Canada geese are a rare and shy visitor to the Priory.
But this year a pair have arrived who don’t fly off, honking, when I appear.
Introduced from North America and considered a pest by many, I certainly wouldn’t want large numbers of them arriving – and the droppings they would produce. These two alone make quite enough.
And the thought of a dozen geese foraging in the borders isn’t one that brings an indulgent smile to my face.
But as an occasional visitor they are welcome.
And very watchable. One day last week, the female (obviously) laid an egg on the little island on the east pond. Here she is in flagranti.
I stood watching with Lawrence (who is doing work on the house) and he told me that she would probably be back to lay another. And then another; when she had laid a clutch she would start incubating. Apparently the eggs can be left cold initially; it is incubation that starts the embryos developing, after which they must be kept warm.
Thinking that there might be some more eggs soon, I went off for my tea-break.
But Lawrence, the goose and I hadn’t reckoned on the mallard sitting on her own nest in the decrepit old duck house.
When we returned the egg had gone: we think the duck rolled it into the water. She was, after all, there first.
The goose didn’t lay again but they stayed for the rest of the day
and the following one too
but haven’t been back since. They might return but perhaps they’ve found a less crowded nesting site elsewhere.
It is probably just as well. I really don’t want a flock of geese at the Priory. Though some goslings would have been nice.