Thursday, March 5

Thursday Drive: A Goose Of A Different Stripe

Ducks used to be the main attraction at the pond in a park-like cemetery in my neighborhood. Several generations of area children have squealed in delight while tossing chunks of day-old bread to the quackers. Now the chunks are more likely to be snatched up one of the geese that have taken over the pond and outnumber the ducks about ten to one.

With a hundred or more Canadians cavorting and honking (or posing!) on a warm, sunny day, it was easy at first to miss one goose that wasn't like the others.

It was honking in a different pitch, as if in pain or distress, and frantically running back and forth under a sapling at the water's edge. Instead of a black neck, its swan-like neck was totally white except for a brown stripe at the back.

Never could get it to face the camera, so you're seeing what I saw - its back and a heavy, egg-shaped bulge under its rump. From this and what sounded like cries of distress, ol' City Girl here assumed it was a female Canadian, in the throes of "labor" to birth that egg.

But if this were the coloring of a female Canadian, in a flock this size shouldn't there be others?

Back home, by Googling various search terms, I learned my Goose Of A Different Stripe is a Chinese Brown (a.k.a. Chinese Swan), but didn't find out if the bulge is indicative of an egg-carrying female. Since geese mate for life, the frantic honking could very well be normal for a male trying to locate its lost mate.

Here's a shot of it in the water:

The remaining mystery is how he/she came to be here in the park at all, the lone specimen among a flock of Canadians.

As the photo below shows, some of the Canadians are quite the little hams. All I had to do was raise the camera to my eye, and he (she?) walked right up and posed!

Update: Here's a working link to the video Haunty mentions in his comment below:

Too cute!


pinkpackrat said...

Love the Pix, love the post and felt like I was right there by the pond with you. My town is full of Canada geese( and their droppings). They have almost reached the status of pests locally. They are pretty but your goose/swan is prettier. Thanks for taking the rest of us on your walk in the park.

Frieda Babbley said...

Gorgeous photos! How curious. I wonder if you will come across the swan again. I wonder how it got to be there as well. I you do find out more, let us know. I would have assumed eggs as well, but I suppose one never knows, unless you're an expert on the subject. Thanks for sharing.

JamaGenie said...

Frieda, you bet I'll try to find out how it got there. Chinese Swan geese don't seem to be migratory. Cute avatar, btw! ;D

JamaGenie said...

pinkpackrat, in the water the Chinese Swan goose reminds me of the Mother Goose in children's books. Even has the same orange legs and feet.

Haunty said...

I got a pleasant feeling reading your post. Thanks. It's really nice that you made the pics yourself, it had to be great fun. My ex-girlfriend is crazy about ducks, so I love them too. I can't forget her face when she's around them.

JamaGenie said...

Ducks (and geese) always bring out the best in people, I think. It;s hard not to smile and be enchanted when one is around them. Yes, it was great fun making these pics. Some of the birds were real hams!

Haunty said...

Yes, look what happened to an office clerk the other day. I just saw it in the news.

JamaGenie said...

Haunty, that was just the cutest video I've seen in a long time! I shudder to think what would've happened to those ducklings without the bank officer. Thanks!