Tuesday, August 11, 2009

So Lucky

If you love nature and are lucky enough to live (or have grown up) beside a marshy lake, you can have the chance to see some pretty amazing things. As I have mentioned before, growing up by one such lake here in NW Alberta Canada I had the chance to see all sorts of various waterfowl living here or passing by. Regular inhabitants were Canada geese, mallard ducks, Franklin gulls, typical garbage dump/city seagulls, and various shore birds. Visitors included Trumpeter swans, other swans, cranes, and even a blue heron stopped for a meal some years back. Odd and rare flyers-overhead have included wild turkeys and pelicans (one group flew over the lake about a month ago but I did not have my camera!!). I seem to recall the odd pelican landed to try feeding out of our lake over the years but they will have gone hungry as it is not fish-bearing.

Lately, we have had a pair of bald eagles move into the area. They like to hunt on the lake in the off-winter months, feeding mostly on baby gulls. They love to perch near my parents` house and look out over the lake for prey. We`re thankful for this, since the gull population has been crazy over the past few years, thanks to a huge landfill next door.

This year, we have also been rather lucky in that 4 pairs of Canada geese raised their young just over the bank from our barnyard, for the shore-bound first few weeks of their lives. 3 of the pairs actually raised their young all in one large group. This large group, in particular, kept their group brood in this location for this entire period, which allowed me to take weekly pictures. Finally, both groups disappeared for several weeks, having moved their broods out to the reed beds where they could feed better and mature more rapidly. Recently however, both groups have returned so that I could get some pictures of their beautiful teenagers.

These first four pictures are the large group, 3 sets of adults (likely many siblings), and the entire passel of young. It was fascinating to watch the group hierarchy and sharing of duties. Looking at the fourth picture, however, one can see that several of the young went to feeding local predators or were simply not strong enough to survive.

One of our dogs actually ended up removing one more of their numbers as well. A very surprising act from her. We think it may have been a gift from her, since there is a new pup at the farm who is siphoning some of her attention away. Such is nature, although we certainly are not encouraging such action.

The next two pictures are of a single family. I didn`t get too many pictures of them as they spent most of their time somewhere else. They were also born later than the large group, I think.

What a lucky child was I. I still am.


Liz said...

Beautiful. I'm lucky enough to drive through a swamp most days and there are a pair of Canadian geese raising a family there. I've watched them grow from wee fluffy things (stopped in my car on the road, no-less, watching mama flap her wings in near-panic as she herded her flock to the other side) to the teens they are now. We're lucky to share this world with them.

SoapBoxTech said...

Thanks for the comment Liz. We are lucky indeed.

You know her wing flapping was an effort to scare you and your big ol' car away?

Liz said...

Ah, I hadn't thought of that. Guess I was thinking about the way I flap my wings at my kids as I tell them to get a move on.

SoapBoxTech said...

hehe well it might have been some of that too. Either way, I'm glad you got to be part of it, and that you feel how special sharing the space can be.