Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Easter goose

Before the days turned cold again, I sat here, looking off beyond the dock, to the little tuft of tall field grasses growing just where the pond water splits—half coming from behind the old oak woods, half draining our usually puddled lot of young Sugar Maples.
To a mound, where, every spring, a goose would sit on a nest of eggs, her head low, barely seen. While her mate swam in the shallow water, back and forth, beside her.

Canada Goose pair

By Easter, there’d be goslings, fluffy, yellow, and small—the perfect complement to egg hunts in the lush grass and baskets filled for little girls. From across the water, she’d bring them, six or eight swimming in a row, to feed on the tender green grass of the dam, her mate following closely behind.
But, each spring we’d watch, as this little family grew, day by day, with each crossing, smaller by one. Until, none remained but the mated pair, to move on and return the next year.

I always wondered about them, their defenseless young in a world that feeds upon the most innocent.
The unknown dangers they’d fought against—and lost.
Yet, each year, began again.

I watched, several springs later, the nest, more suddenly emptied than ever before.
As if they’d been taken all at once—the whole family, in the course of just one afternoon.
Shells broken and scattered.
Both goose and gander, gone.

From the thick, snarled grass of the field, far skirting the edge of the pond, she stepped out onto the paved surface of our little country lane.
Behind her, six or eight, walking in a row, to feed on the tender grass--
and never touch the water of the pond.

beside the dock, from below,
rising to surface of pond

click to enlarge!

Common Snapping Turtle, Chelydra serpentina

Dolls and Easter Dresses

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deejay said...

i thought strange thing coming to the surface but it was a turtle. beautiful!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Someone neeeds to keep those Canada Geese in check. Even though those little goslings are so cute it seems like Canada Geese are taking over the world. Too bad people don't have a Christmas Goose any more. I might have a little more compassion for them.

NCmountainwoman said...

Yes, the turtles will win over the geese every time. When we lived on a lake, my children were so upset to note the reduced number of goslings.

I LOVE the Easter finery, complete with the little white gloves and white patent leather shoes. Are you the younger one?

nina at Nature Remains. said...

NCmountain woman--those sweet little darlings are my girls--years ago, when Easter bonnets and lacy anklets were their dream!

NW Nature Nut said...

Nice post. I always enjoy your stories.

KGMom said...

Awww--I was going to ask too who the little girls are. Oh time does fly.
As for turtles and geese, my brother once lived next to a small pond that had a pair of ducks. One day, the one duck disappeared. I visited him shortly after that, and as we talked next to the pond, the other duck suddenly was pulled under. Snapping turtle! My brother--who is quite fearful of water--rowed out in a small boat and proceeded to whack said turtle with the boat oar until the turtle let go of the duck.
One duck saved; one brother temporarily overcoming his fear.

Elisabeth's bright side said...

The world is only for the fittest and strongest. Guess I'm lucky that has survived the turtle so far :)

GreenishLady said...

What a story! I wouldn't have guessed at the cause of the disappearance.

Robin said...

On occasion I post something called 'Water People'. It's just people staring out over lake Michigan, lost in thought. I think it's kind of interesting but everyone who reads my blog JUST LOVES THEM and thinks I should create a book of them.

I wish you would create a very simple tome of some of your writings along with your photos. I would love to be able to sit in a rocking chair or on my back porch over the water and hold a real book of your work and when it wasn't in my lap it would reside on a special shelf next to the Perfection of Morning and Nature's Way....

nina at Nature Remains. said...

Interesting to hear of others' experiences with geese/ducks lost to snapping turtles. When I was reading in order to gather info for this, I came across several sites that said turtles are often mistakenly blamed, and generally are not the cause of gosling/duckling difficulties.
I'm glad to know I'm not alone in observing them to be the culprits.

I suppose numbers could have something to do with it--our pond must have quite a few!

Tom said...

Happy Easter Nina.. have a great weekend.

Wiggers World

Ginnymo said...

What a nice, but sad, story. I'd be crying my eyes out if I saw that happening.. Nice photos of the geese and the turtle!! I love your old photo!!