Posted: 21 February 2014
It was just before 08:00 when I heard the quack of a duck. I pulled back the curtains to see a pair of Mallard. I still find it surprising that you don't often see more than one duck on the lake. In fact, it is rare to see duck at all, although you often see a number of them on the neighbour's field and in the dykes around his plot.
Around an hour later I managed to catch a goose on the ramp on the "duck house". (In truth, I think I ought to call it a Goose House, as it certainly is large enough, but after all the political commotions of a few years ago, everyone seems to use the term duck house for any structure of this type, regardless of size.)
I've seen one on the ramp a couple of times over the last few days. I have assumed that I was always seeing "Mother Goose", wondering if she would be able to get back to Last Year's Nest Site, now that it is hidden behind the duck house by a full year's reed growth. However, today I have concluded that it is always "Baby Goose" that we see on the ramp. All this is working on the basis that the three geese that have arrived are the same ones that left together in the first couple of days in August last year.
Of the three, one always keeps a little distance from the other two and it was today that I realised that the one I have seen on the duck house ramp never has a second goose nearby. This occurred to me as I saw our pair cruise past the lone goose on the ramp arriving behind the house from behind the cottages.
Once behind the house, all three went into "cleaning" mode, "Baby Goose" staying distant from the parents a little nearer the house, but still, it seemed, imitating the parents. It was particularly noticeable how the parents followed each others actions one by one, so that if one decided to turn completely upside down, the other copied immediately.