Refugees welcomed at Estabrook Park pond

The air temperature was supposed to be 39°F, but with grey skies and the wind whipping out of the northeast, it felt like 32°F. The trout lilies, that close down in the night, didn’t even bother to open this morning. I stopped by the trillium, to check on their progress, and there was none.
Then I stopped by the pond to see how the Goslings were doing, and they were hungrily enjoying their Kentucky bluegrass breakfast. As I snapped a couple of pictures just to document their wellbeing and maybe their rapid growth, I noticed a couple of cars slowing down on the road. No real surprise there, plenty of folks are noticing the goslings for the first time, and they sure are a sight to see. That wasn’t the reason, however. Instead, they were stopping because ANOTHER FAMILY OF CANADA GEESE WITH THREE GOSLINGS OF THEIR OWN WAS CROSSING THE ROAD! I kid you not.
Once they got on the grass, not five feet from family number 1, there was what seemed to me to be a tense moment, but the gander who has been chasing off other canada geese for weeks kept his cool. There was some serious head bobbing and holding heads low but horizontal, by all 4 adults, but no honking or hissing. A couple of the goslings even checked out the new arrivals, but I was too dumbstruck to take a picture, and then everyone just went back to breakfast. Soon, family number 2 was starting to settle down for what must be a well-deserved nap, some wood ducks hopped up on shore, as if to keep them company, and family number 1 went for a swim. If this were in a movie, I’d be rolling my eyes. Instead, I’m just trying to keep them dry, what with the cold wind and all.
Here’s a picture of the two families together. Family number 1 is in the foreground heading left, and family number 2 is close to the water getting accustomed to their new surroundings. I’m standing on the curb, and the road is right behind me.

Now I obviously don’t know the story behind this new family, but there’s only one other place that I’ve seen geese nesting all spring, and that’s down on islands in the river. Thus, the simplest explanation, amazing as it sounds, is that these three goslings walked with their parents up the bluff, through the woods, across the road, and to the pond. Oh, those poor little feet! We’ve even seen a candidate family, with three goslings, crossing the river a week ago.

Published by Andrew Dressel

Theoretical and Applied Bicycle Mechanic, and now, apparently, Amateur Naturalist. In any case, my day job is teaching mechanics at UWM.

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