I introduced our new goose family May 7: http://stevejonesgbh.com/2018/05/07/big-blue-lake-update/
Our backyard nesting Canada Goose parents presented six hatchlings April 30 (below left), reduced to five when we next spotted them in our yard (below right).
Sometime mid-month we spotted the parents and four goslings. May 30 the awkward gangling, seeming-teenagers visited us with the parents (below). Today (June 9) they are noticeably bigger, but not close enough for a photo update.
A mallard family (eight ducklings) has visited our bed frequently over the past two weeks. Tough to get photo because they dive off the wall as soon as we appear outside. That’s them in poor photo below (from our sun-room window) between the triangular stone and the caged plant at the wall. When we open the door, momma and the little ones flow like liquid over the wall and high-tail it for the water.
Our Second Killdeer Brood
I reported on the second nesting in that same May 7 Blog Post. Sunday June 3 (23rd day on all four eggs), we noticed mom seeming increasingly agitated. Over the prior 2+ weeks the parents had grow somewhat accustomed to and comfortable with our yard presence. The setting parent stood over the nest rather than setting for longer periods (below left). The one off the nest but nearby did the feigned injury dance (below right) with greater urgency.
Tuesday June 5 dawned cool with wisps of sunlit cirrus high above the still-not-sun-kissed morning stratus, the effect irresistible to my my shutter finger.
We returned from our walk to the standing adult near four hatchlings bundled in the nest depression. Soon we watched as one of the little ones scampered away… as though walking was some practiced skill. Within the hour all four were scampering across the lawn and beds. Both parents kept frantic track, corralling and calling constantly and if we wandered too close, doing the broken wing distraction. By then our next door neighbors joined us to enjoy the show. One particularly adventurous youngster made a bee-line for the shore. Our neighbor chased after it… fearing that the tiny bird would enter the water and drown. Her pursuit, we surmise in retrospect, guaranteed that the little one entered the water. To our amazement the newly hatched killdeer swam like a pro, covering the 100+ feet across the neck with steady progress. The adult flew across to greet the swimmer.
Later I learned with some internet help, that killdeer are excellent swimmers. So much for our deep concern that drowning was a possibility. I watched with an admitted sense of anticipation. Our Big Blue Lake has a rich population of largemouth bass, bull frogs, and snapping turtles. I knew that at any moment our little swimmer could end as a mouthful. Somehow, nothing rose to its churning swim-stride, demonstrating better action that any surface lure I have ever employed as an angler. Our neighbor, feeling guilty about stimulating the swim, ran around the neck to retrieve the little one. She brought it back to the nest area, where the parents shepherded the four all day, heading to shoreline late afternoon.
I managed a decent photo of one of the adventurers mid morning casting a larger-than-life shadow!
Lessons and Reflections
It’s summertime “and the livin’ is easy” (to borrow from an old song). In these “lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer” (yes, another old song), I hope you will forgive me for excerpting my reflections verbatim from that May 7, 2018 Blog Post:
I won’t attempt to offer esoteric lessons from Nature to close this Big Blue Lake update. Instead, here are a few rather simple conclusions:
- Life is what we make of it — I am seeking and finding Nature and some level of wildness in a classic suburban development.
- I am securing my daily bread right in my backyard.
- Nature is adaptable to human habitation — after all, we are one with Nature.
- I sincerely wish more people could appreciate, understand, and enjoy Nature’s beauty, awe, magic, and wonder.
- Life can be as good as we care to make it.
Please make your life rise to Nature’s wisdom and power to inform and inspire. So much that is good awaits our discovery every day… and most any place. Nature’s beauty, magic, wonder, and awe surround us. Seek it; embrace it; revel in it!