Friday, July 18, 2014

A Goose Tale

Wild life photography is all about patience. Those totally dedicated to solely the capture of birds are anchored to a blind and a tripod and a 500 mm telephoto lens. Not exactly my cup of tea. I enjoy recording the world around me which is an entirely different form of patience. I and my dogs, Magique and Mardi Gras, take my camera on a walk most mornings early for the purpose of catching the early light, and by chance the wildlife inhabiting my walking grounds.

First you teach the dogs not to chase. And when the photographer stops they stop. And then you walk the same route often enough the nature around you becomes used to your presence. Hawks, I have been told, learn to recognize your face. I think geese must too. I began photographing this mated pair several years back. This year I was allowed in on the goslings beginning day one and their introduction to water.

First Swim
My guess is mother was always in front and dad at back and the little ones followed along. They were very protective parents. This was not a city park but a pond in the forest. Getting all four goslings to adulthood would not be easy.

I was not surprised when after a week away I came back to find their numbers reduced by one. One year they only got one gosling to this "ugly duckling" stage.

Geese do not spend all their lives in water. They graze on land. I knew I was trusted when I discovered them at the pond's edge grazing and they did not immediately take to the safety of the pond.

In fact they even took cross country treks (young still cannot fly) to another nearby pond which offered up some rather artistic photos.

They were nested down in the tall grasses of this other little pond when I re-met them yesterday after a couple week absence. Five heads came up in the grass and watched the passage of my dogs and me up the hill in search of vistas with morning mist. They were unconcerned with my nearness, and I was more interested in the mist. But on the way back they were in the water. And very proud of themselves. No doubt flight lessons have begun. And soon they will be heading south. The parents, if all goes well, will be back next spring to raise more goslings. This year's brood will have to find another pond.

BTW photos of the morning mist also turned out well.

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