Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Not In My Backyard - Wood Duck & Canada Goslings

A few weeks ago, I had noticed these Canada geese swimming in a private pond. The youngsters were at the sable-brown powder puff stage. I did take photos, but nothing I was really satisfied with as I couldn't get close enough.  Each time I drove by the pond, I gazed longingly toward the geese wishing I could get closer. I coveted that pond and the birds it hosted. The rushes on the pond edge are almost six feet tall now, a foot taller than I am; shooting through the rushes was a definite challenge. Between the pond and I was also a broad expanse of lawn. There was no way of sneaking up on anyone. Remembering what they taught me at Quanitco, I did think I could lie down on my belly and slither like a snake, camera aloft. However, whenever I went by, I was never in my bathrobe, so I never had on the right outfit for that maneuver. Plus, the home owner would probably have had a problem with that. I often saw fresh laundry on the line there, cars moved around and the grass unfailingly mowed, sure signs of occupancy. Then one day, the home owner himself was out by the pond edge throwing cracked corn to the geese! I leaped from my car and scampered across his lawn to introduce myself and tell him how much I enjoyed his pond and all the wildlife it supported. I admired his brilliantly green lawn. "You must really work at that lawn. It's so lush and green! My husband really loves good grass," I said, ingratiating myself. Men always like to hear that they've got a great lawn; he was  in fact, very pleased. He sheepishly admitted that he shouldn't feed the geese and ducks, but couldn't help himself. He told me he had dug the pond when he built his house in 1970. Clearly, he was a man who appreciated do-it-yourself initiative. He invited me to come sit by the pond any time I wanted to and for as long as I wished. He even invited me to use some of his lawn furniture. "Sure! Take a load off! Sit right there under that pine in the shade if you want to. Me and the misses don't mind one bit. Nice someone likes it."
      Walking back to my car, I noticed that the emerald green lawn was actually the work of the geese as much as the home owner. It was a mine field of fertilizing bird bombs the size of Cuban cigars! In spite of trying to avoid them, I stepped into a few which stuck like two part epoxy to my shoe. Knowing that my new found pond pal would have been watching me return to my car, I had to ignore the poo goo so it didn't look like I disapproved. Having used my good 'man material' by blowing smoke about his lovely lawn would have been completely waisted had I let out a squealing "Eeeeeeeeeeuuuuuuuuu!" while doing a grand Pas Du Chat. I decided that having Canada geese in my yard wouldn't be so great. Like deer and grandchildren, they are better appreciated in someone else's yard. 
There are five of these young geese. Their adult feathers are developed enough that you can definitely tell they are Canada geese. These geese are quite habituated to humans and were not shy about being near me. The parents did hiss at me a few times which was a little nerve wracking. A Canada goose standing on the ground is about at eye level to me.






Amongst the Mallards in the pond was this divine Wood Duck in all of his colorful glory. He was definitely wild and would have spooked to flight very quickly if I hadn't been stealthy.
 

I could not get enough of photographing them, either. Maybe I will have to take up my new friend's offer of the lawn chair.

10 comments:

  1. So strange to see a Mallard and a wood duck next to each other.Huh?? Know what you mean about the cigars,they are also on some of the fairways at the Lodge.
    bmc

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  2. You want Canadian Geese you can walk right up to and they won't budge...NJ has FLOCKS of these Poodiful creatures that have annoyed people with all their POO EVERYWHERE.
    HG

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  3. The last photo of the Wood duck and the Mallard is fabulous, with all of their colors reflecting in the water....you not only have a great camera, but a great eye!

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  4. I guess we should be thankful that the Canadas aren't Mute swans, lots of poo with attitude! YIKES! Thanks for the compliments and reading all of you out there in Cyberland. That's south of Portland, in case anyone was wondering.

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  5. :...stuck like two part epoxy to my shoe..." What an apt description! :)

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  6. You are too funny! I can almost imagine you walking across that lawn, stepping in poo, and acting like not a thing in the world is wrong so you don't upset your host.

    Wonderful images, especially the Wood Duck!

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  7. Yup, just mincing along, singing a song....tiptoeing through the big bird doooooooooooo!

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  8. Robin,

    I know I've told you this before, but your photos are awesome! You are EVERYWHERE! Looking forward to seeing you and Dave at the Lobster House!

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  9. Good midsummer to you and your birds.
    They are decorative in your photos and seen in person too, I think :)

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  10. Thank you, Leena. I am wondering how the Wood duck and Mallard shot on the bottom would look printed on metallic paper.

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