Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Hard and Soft (04/23/09)
By Beth B
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Walking through the open gate we head for the trail. Oak trees line the path pell-mell. Lush green bushes obscure the fence from view. The park mascot, a tiger cat, was our first greeter. He frequently rests by the sandy path, cleaning himself or sitting on the bench sunbathing.
We are ready. We are looking. Sure enough we see them. On the grass near the lake is a couple with three young goslings. Yep!... a family of Canadian geese. Our first sighting this spring. The gosling’s soft yellow fuzz invites us to want to pick them up and gently touch them to our cheeks. My husband quietly walks up, as close as he can, without getting a hissed warning, to get a family portrait. It’s difficult not to linger and observe for awhile.
We continue on the path toward the bridge. Then we stop and watch the mallards below. Some are swimming or others are taking a siesta on the nearby grass. Our peepers are posted for the local otter. Once in awhile the otter surprises us and only his head pops up. A few times we see him swimming on his back, for a few seconds and then quickly disappear. We don’t spot him today. A red-winged black bird remains sitting on the fence while we walk by. Our nature hike comes to an end all too quickly.
In subsequent weeks we see numerous Canadian geese families: one with five babies, one with two and one with as many as fifteen. Yes, fifteen! Geese usually have between three to eight babies. When you see more than that, in our case fifteen, the group is usually comprised of more than one family. This large group is called “crèches.”
A return trip to the lake found us hunting high and low for the first family with the three babies. They were nowhere to be found. Just before leaving the park, who do we see, but the three goslings on a walking adventure with their parents. They still appear small and fuzzy, but they are growing. It will be hard to wait till next year to see the new group of babies.
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