Canada Geese

Canada geese are a rare and shy visitor to the Priory.

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But this year a pair have arrived who don’t fly off, honking, when I appear.

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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.

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And the thought of a dozen geese foraging in the borders isn’t one that brings an indulgent smile to my face.

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But as an occasional visitor they are welcome.

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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.

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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.

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But Lawrence, the goose and I hadn’t reckoned on the mallard sitting on her own nest in the decrepit old duck house.

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When we returned the egg had gone: we think the duck rolled it into the water.  She was, after all, there first.

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The goose didn’t lay again but they stayed for the rest of the day

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and the following one too

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but haven’t been back since.   They might return but perhaps they’ve found a less crowded nesting site elsewhere.

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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.

38 thoughts on “Canada Geese

  1. The sound of Canada geese reminds me of somewhere we use to live by the Thames. Every night they use to fly back at around the same time to their field by the river to sleep. It was a strangely comforting sound. Part of the rhythm of nature. Now whenever I hear them it takes me back to that place. I wouldn’t fancy geese in the garden though. There’s enough to deal with. 😉

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    • Hi Lou, Canada geese do have a good, melancholic call and always annouce their arrival – which I like. Since I wrote this post they’ve been back a few times but always go off again. Something isn’t to their liking and I expect it is a certain matronly mallard.

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  2. Canada geese that are “rare and shy” visitors, I thought for a second that yet another species had gone over to Europe for refinement and finishing… and then their true character came through! haha.
    Goslings are fun, but my fingers are crossed for plenty of ducklings. At least their mother bothered to build a nest. Maybe the geese were trying to pull a cuckoo trick on the mallard and couldn’t quite get in close enough, would have made a nice sortof ugly duckling tale for your pond!

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    • Hi, I know. I was surprised that the geese hadn’t even bothered to build some sort of platform. Perhaps it was just speculative – and the mallard put a stop to that. Mallards take up to 28 days to hatch so I’ve a bit of a wait to see whether any ducklings appear. D

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  3. That mallard looks like butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth, doesn’t she? (Well, actually, she looks like a force to be reckoned with.) Don’t get on her bad side, eh?

    When I lived in rural New York I was walking Luther one lovely autumn morning by a lake. Luther was off the leash, and when we topped a little hill we saw *thousands* of migrating Canada geese resting in the grass at the water’s edge. Luther took off at full-bore and ran barking and wagging right through the middle of that flock and scattered them all to the winds. A good day for us both.

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    • I’m always very polite with mallards (though I did chase of two drakes the other day who were forcing their attentions on a very abused duck – the males can drown females in their indecent urge to mate). I do like a Luther story. A flock that size – especially taking off – must have been quite a sight. Naughty Luther. D

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  4. We are in Devon with a pond. A pair of Canada fly in for a couple of days. Just enough to make their droppings a nuisance and worry the collie, then they leave us and the coots can breathe again. We also have a pair of mallards who come and go. I wonder if they take a while to decide where to breed. Love your photos. Your description of your “walk” is inspiring, the photos nearly convinced me to pack a rucksac!

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    • Hi, relieved your collie can relax again. We have coots too at the Priory but they are very shy and always scurry off if I approach. But there will be young ones before long. The mallard have already deserted two nests built in borders near the house – so I don’t know whether we will actually get ducklings this year. There haven’t been any for about four years. And go on, pack a (light) rucksac! Dave

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  5. Great photos! I am rooting for Ms. Mallard. Trust me, if you did have goslings, the parents would have made your life miserable. They are quite boldly aggressive with young to protect. How was your trek?

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  6. I truly love ducks, and I would like to see pictures of the ducklings when they hatch! Thank you for sharing this series of pictures about the geese 🙂

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  7. Beautiful pictures! You are luckily though where Canada geese goslings fledge, they will come back to nest as adults. Beautiful as they are on the ground and especially in migration flights, you are better off with just visiting geese.

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  8. Superb action photos! I would think the droppings on the lawn would have been a problem if they had stayed, wood pigeons are bad enough here, just as well you managed to photograph them when you did.

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  9. So, not necessarily the survival of the fittest but the one with their wits about them! You’ve got some fabulous photos there, but would have been nice if they’d been able to stay a bit longer.

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    • Hi Amelia, I know. Lawrence and I were both chuckling when we realised what had happened. I don’t know why the geese haven’t laid on the much bigger island on the west pond. Very picky? D

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  10. I think you should be very grateful to the duck! btw I haven’t had time to read your post about your walk, I’m sure it will be long and interesting so I’m saving it for when I have more time.

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  11. Great to see the Canada Geese on your pond – at least they would have got rid of any excess duck weed for you. It made me chuckle that the Mallard got rid of her neighbour’s egg – good for her. Shame they have gone though – I am sure they would have provided lots more post for you.

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    • Hello Elaine, the duckweed for the moment has gone from the pond and I don’t know that geese (or ducks) actually eat it, do they? If so they are out of luck! I think the geese will continue to be occasional visitors – which is all for the best I think. Dave

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