Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Mother Goose Tale

Imagine that you're fully engrossed in a wonderful movie on television, and you're only moments away from what promises to be a wonderfully climactic ending. The phone rings and you know you have to take that call. You don't have a PVR. The movie is not available for rental or upload. You missed the ending. Sure, other folks could tell you what happened. In fact, you might have even guessed the conclusion but you really wanted to see it play out on the screen.

Enter, Veronica. She's my son Alex's girlfriend who has recently bought a camera because of her renewed interest in photography. Veronica became my PVR, a short while back when she photographed the conclusion of a tender little tale which had been playing out by the pond over the previous few weeks.



1 proud mama to be
This photo was taken in April. Our pond is host to dozens of Canada geese through the course of the year but many of them head further north as the warmer weather comes along. This lovely female and her mate took up residence in a mostly-hidden area along the shore. She's about four feet below my vantage point, at the bottom of a rocky, sloped embankment. You can see some of the ground fencing used to protect against erosion in the foreground. 






4 proud mama sleeping
Nest-building, egg-laying and sitting is exhausting work. Mama Goose did a lot of napping. She pretty much stayed in the same spot all day, sleeping or glancing a wary eye my way, whenever I stopped by to visit her - which was often. Before too long, I believe she came to recognize me and understood that I wasn't a threat to her nest - even when I had Benny with me.







2 mama goose
I know this because despite my presence, she would occasionally step off of the nest to stretch, count her eggs (I see five) and attend to her grooming.








8 proud papa3
Papa Goose, on the other hand, wasn't always quite as trusting. I never saw him hang out close to the nest, but he was always nearby. Some days, he would allow me to get really close to him and he'd pose smartly for the camera. I've witnessed others hand-feeding him, on occasion. Other times, he would decide to strut his stuff. He'd lift his wings, making him appear twice his size, and make his way up the walkway, hissing and charging at everyone who walked by. He did that to Benny and me, one day and we had to take a small detour in order to avoid aggravating him further. You can't blame him for wanting to protect his family.








7 hot gooseSome days were particularly hot and Mama Goose would sit with her bum raised above the eggs, allowing the air to flow beneath her so that the eggs would not get overheated. Her mouth remained agape so that she could keep as cool as possible.






5 mama g adjusting2
One day, I spotted Mama rearranging her nest. Eggs which were on the perimeter of the nest were now being tucked in toward the middle with her bill. She resumed sitting once they were all where she wanted them.





3 mama gooseplucking feathers
Every now and then, Mama Goose could be seen plucking her breast feathers. I'd never given much thought to the expression "feathering your nest" before but that's exactly what she was doing, in preparation for a mini excursion into the pond.






2 feathered nest
She expertly covered each and every inch of her exposed eggs, making sure they kept warm. This also helped to camouflage the nest from predators.






6 wet goose
A cool, refreshing dip in the pond revitalizes a tired Mama. 



 



0 goose feathers
And this is where "the end" of this tale took me. I knew the eggs would be ready to hatch soon (particularly after Papa Goose gave me such a hard time) but I was heading off to Frank's for about a week. I knew I would miss the goslings.






babiesIMG_1257
But this is where Veronica comes in. She went out each day to see if Mama was still sitting on her nest. The first couple of times, she was. Then I got a text from Veronica telling me that the nest was empty and that she and Alex were in search of the family. They soon found them at the opposite end of the pond. Four of the five goslings had hatched successfully. Mama and Papa hid them amid the tall grass but you should have no trouble finding all four in this image which Veronica snapped for me.






babies2IMG_1268
By the time I got back from Frank's place they had all moved on elsewhere. I'm glad that Veronica was able to capture a few images of these little sweeties or I'd never know for sure that they did alright.

It's my understanding that geese often come back to their place of birth to mate and nest. Maybe next year, another generation of this family will emerge.

Thanks for indulging me in my own Tale of Mother Goose.

69 comments:

Daniel LaFrance said...

A wonderful tale and visuals to enjoy. Merci :)

Frank Baron said...

Gotta love happy endings. Great shots dear, and good on ya' Ronnie for pitch hitting when Hil was out of range. :)

Nadezda said...

Hilary, great shots and nice tale with happy end, the goslings are so pretty!

ladyfi said...

Wonderful shots and such a cute ending!

Pierre BOYER said...

Gorgeous post...
Best regards from France,

Pierre

Robin said...

A lovely series...

Andy said...

Two cameras are better than one... or in this case it's two photographers are better than one.

Elizabeth Grimes said...

Bravo Veronica! Aren't they sweet little things? Hissing geese are no joke! It's kind of frightening. :) Hope you've been well Hilary, I'm working my way back into the blogosphere. :)

Brian Miller said...

awww...a wonderful tale to watch...the magic of new life...they all look so soft and cuddly....thanks for finishing the show veronica...smiles.

Tabor said...

Spring is all about the new little ones and the love of a mother and father, isn't it? Great photos. Our geese are not at all so tame and I have no idea where their nests are. We do have two families on the river though.

Kerri said...

Oh, now that is one wonderful story!!!
What a GREAT post!

Hilary said...

Beautiful shots, I am amazed at how close you got to them.

Country Girl said...

I loved your story complete with the beautiful images to illustrate it. This could be a sweet children's book, Hilary. Really!

sage said...

What a great set of photos--a family album of your geese.

Pauline said...

And thanks for sharing the whole movie with us!

Diane Cayton-Hakey said...

A big thank you to Veronica for assisting with this story. Love the chicks in the grass photo and their cute yellow fuzz.

Gary's third pottery blog said...

we have 3-4 goose families around our house again this year, at the river, oh they are so cute!

Rob-bear said...

Great photos, Hillary and Veronica. And lovely narrative.

Which reminds me; I should be checking the shoreline around our place for baby geese. Or a nest.

messymimi said...

A beautiful start to my day, thank you.

louciao said...

This was such a treat to watch the story unfold from beginning to new beginnings. I've observed a pair of Canada Geese from a distance that have returned to the same tiny pond for the past few years and taken up residence in front of a little old dog house that sits on the wee island in that pond. After a few weeks, they've gone, but this year I had the good luck to see them with their babies parading along the side of the pond nearest me. Obviously a success story, much like your tale. It was super interesting to read about the little details of nesting that you wrote about and illustrated. And, of course, those close-up pix are great.

TexWisGirl said...

so sweet! yay for veronica!

Out on the prairie said...

What a great tale, I love to watch this.I watched one brood of 19, the largest I have ever seen and always gereeted them each day.

DJan said...

Oh, I love this story, Hilary. And those sweet adorable little goslings just melt my heart! Such dedicated parents... we could learn a bit about parenting by watching geese, it seems. :-)

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Fantastic pictures. I am glad this tale had a happy ending.

Stephen Hayes said...

This was like watching a wonderful Disney nature special. I loved watching those when I was a kid. Fabulous photography.

Grayquill said...

I loved your goose tale and the pictures as well. Fun post!

Red said...

You know how to tell a good story! It took ma a while to figure out where you were going. Great sequence of photos.

Dianne said...

brava Veronica!

the wee ones are so adorable
and mama is beautiful
and papa is a dude

I love geese
they're all about family

Bob Bushell said...

Beautiful, they are beautiful, yes, I can do it, they are beautiful. The Canada Geese are always looking after their eggs, and there is later when the father shows himself as the real leader.

Eva Gallant said...

Oh, wow! Those photos are amazing! Your son's girlfriend is a talent! Came here via Pearl's Why you little....!

Mage said...

Goodness, what a full and delightful story. Talent and a good lens indeed. :)

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

That was so much fun, and your photos are simply glorious. I feel privileged for getting this peek at nature. Thank you!

June said...

Oh.
My.
Gawd.
Beautiful mama, with her glossy black neck. Such a good mama. Nature amazes me: how do they know to do what they do? What voice speaks to them and whispers: "Pluck some feathers from your breast and keep your babies warm"?
Papa is so brave and handsome.
And the whole family there at the end. Cocky little punkin' head goslings! Is there anything so cute as a baby anything?

Please thank Veronica for me!

Anvilcloud said...

Thanks for the great story and pictures, and thank you too, Veronica.

Kerry said...

Super post Hilary! Lovely close-ups of mama and adorable shots of the babies. Good for Veronica!

I wonder where the family moved?

Barbara Shallue said...

I loved this story! What little sweeties! Please tell Veronica thank you from me for capturing the photos.

Leah J. Utas said...

What a wonderful goose story.

Linda said...

Thanks to you and Veronica for a well-documented and beautifully photographed Mother Goose tale.

cloudia charters said...

This is an award winning post!!!!!

I have an affinity for these creatures, and have NEVER seen photos of this caliber, much less a series like this over time.


Bravo to All involved!!!


Aloha from Waikiki,
Comfort Spiral
> < } } ( ° >

Murr Brewster said...

Aaak. This comes to me on the day I MISSED my chickadees leaving the nest. I waited for days and it happened when I went potty or something. Next year, nest-cam.

Stewart M said...

Hi there - that’s a splendid post and set of pictures. Two photographers are often better than one!

I don’t think you can worry too much about what people think of you if you take macro shots - far too much time on your hands and knees taking pictures of things other people can see! I tree or a lake is OK - but a rusted bolt head or a spider web and they think you’re a madman!

Stewart M

Jenny Woolf said...

Oh, wonderful! I wish I could take photos like this, I don't think I'm patient enough to photograph wildlife but it is so worthwhile.

Maggie May said...

Wonderful photos. It was a very good tale and I enjoyed seeing the photos right through to the ending! Glad it was a happy one!
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Mental P Mama said...

So precious! Our geese are so mean! They chase us if we get too close...

Shammickite said...

Goosey Goosey Gander, whither do you wander?
Upstairs and downstairs, and in my Lady's chamber.
so says the nursery rhyme.
Great story and illustrations. Those babies are very sweet.... but ALL babies are lovely aren't they?

Daryl Edelstein said...

Props to Veronica .. I had no idea what a PVR was .. then it dawned on me DVR!!!!!!! You Cannucks sure have some odd abbrevs ;)

Sharon Wagner said...

I've never seen their eggs. What a beautiful journey. And all that is left is a pile of fluff. Happy ending. At least for now!

Kelly said...

This is a sweet, sweet post. I really enjoyed it. The last photo melts my heart!! :-)

Lisa RedWillow said...

Amazing photos and detail

ellen abbott said...

smart mama goose. and I love that close up of her feathers near the end.

Merisi said...

A wonderful tale, beautifully illustrated. So good to know that there was a happy ending!

Suldog said...

Really cool. And what a nice friend to finish your tale for you. Thanks to you both!

Zuzana said...

Oh, Veronica (what a lovely name btw) did a great job, she has a keen eye and love for nature, a great combination.;)
What is PVR?
Have a lovely week dear Hilary,
xoxo

Rita said...

Loved-loved-loved this!! :):):)

Kat said...

Oh yay! I love a happy ending. :)
I also love that you and your son's girlfriend have such a great relationship and share a common interest. Very cool. :)

SandyCarlson said...

Who knew it was possible to photograph pure love?

I stand at humble attention when Canada geese fly overhead. And when they stand before me protecting their brood. And when they sleep and I am privileged to be anywhere near them.

These photos bring tears to my eyes. Thank you, and thank you, Veronica.

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

Such a heart-warming story. It always makes me gooey to see animals caring for their young. I love the feathered nest part. So sweet. Great photos, too!

Pearl said...

Aww. A happy ending. So lovely to be so close.

I live on the third floor now, and my deck is nestled in the branches of a very large elm. I've been watching the odd little habits of a squirrel recently, watched it sleep on a branch, monorail-style, during the 90-some degree day we had Sunday. I must admit I thought of you and the tale you'd tell and the photos that would accompany it...

Summer!!

Pearl

lime said...

how wonderful that you and veronica could enjoy the goose family and that she would capture the newly hatched goslings for you. such cute little things.

NitWit1 said...

So glad I stopped by today to read this goose story, as our local newpaper and a depressing story by a veterinarian who saved a domestic goose with a broken wing which had also been shot 5 times but survived.

Now it needs a home. My town does not allow farm animals in the City limits.

Glo said...

Fascinating detailed photos that tell the whole story, thanks to your keen eye and the follow-up by your very own PVeronicaR!

Linda said...

Veronica did a great job. Nature's babies are always adorable no matter the species, and those downy goslings are no exception.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Three cheers (or rather, 4 cheers!) for Veronica! Her stint as your PVR was a very thoughtful gift. She sounds like a keeper. :)

Tammie Lee said...

such a wonderful post, overflowing with gorgeous images and sweet life tale.

Hilary said...

Veronica and I both thank you all for your very kind comments. We're glad you enjoyed the images and the story of Mama Goose and her crew. :)

Betty Manousos said...

fantastic, captures, detail, angles!

exquisite macro shots!

big hugs!

Geraldine said...

I never tire of seeing Canadian Geese. What great photos Hilary. A treat on my blog tour today!

Hugs, G

christine said...

that close up crop on her face is fantastic! and the purple wings of the bee ~ wow, i had fun catching up on your blog tonight :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Hilary,

I am so thankful to have met you this morning. I love your blog, I am learning so much just by looking at the photographs in it.

Especially this one about the geese and their children. They are so beautiful!

:)

I hope to see you again soon...

Ana