I don’t charge Sondra anything for paddling her down the river so she can photograph wildlife. It is one of the perks she gets for being the editor of my publishing company.
I don’t charge Sondra anything for paddling her down the river so she can photograph wildlife. It is one of the perks she gets for being the editor of my publishing company. The agreement is, I paddle the boat and sneak up on stuff… therefore I can use any of her photos in my newspaper columns or in my Lightnin’ Ridge Magazine. And it paid off last week, because we came upon an old mama goose preparing a nest inside a hollow sycamore a few feet above the water. She had a downy feather stuck to her cheek. Obviously she had been pulling them out of her breast and back to line her nest. Her mate was out in the river, and he was hesitant to leave. They say that geese mate for life, and I think that likely is not always the case, but it usually is, it seems.
But if you stop and think about it, all female geese look alike, so the gander can just pick any of them. It isn’t likely he will come across a better-looking female somewhere else. It may be though, that among geese, some females are harder to get along with than others, as it seems to be amongst female humans. But I digress… the male goose finally flew off, hesitant to be photographed, and giving us no more unusual photo than a million other geese would give us. But the female, following Sondra with her eyes, had personality. I didn’t make any noise with the paddle, and we didn’t startle her. If you can’t see motherhood in the face and eyes of that old goose, you will never see it in any wild creature.
While it is true that males, or ganders, will often sit on the nest, and will incubate the eggs a bit, I could easily tell which of the two was the female from the size of the neck, and I can’t say for sure, but I would bet that only the female pulls down from her body for the nest.
Last year, a mile or so upstream, I saw something I never thought I would see… a goose nesting in a hollowed-out sycamore limb a good thirty feet above the river, as if she thought she was a woodduck. Geese usually nest on the ground close to water, or in hollow stumps a few feet above the water, even in washtubs set on a short pole above the water, but if you ask a prominent gooseologist if they ever nest in a tree thirty feet high, he will laugh at you. Still, I have the photos showing that one did. I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t the same one Sondra photographed last week, because I remember they both looked so similar. And while it was Sondra who photographed the goose, it was me who done the paddling.
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