Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Canadians Have Landed! -- Geese, that is.

(Not sure if this cheerful fellow (or girl) was among the new arrivals at Harlem Meer last night, but he might be. The new gaggle seemed very familiar with the turf and the people. They seemed happy to be back.)
Ever since last weekend, I have been searching around Central Park for any sign of the mama and papa goose and their four remaining goslings from Turtle Pond.

But, there has been so sign of them at the lake, the surrounding areas to the Great Lawn or the Central Park Reservoir.

Last night, I returned to Harlem Meer.

To my amazement, there was a gaggle of new geese!

Is that them? I wondered while slowly approaching.

But, as I got closer to the new group of geese, it was clear that it was not "the family."

There were about nine very social geese all together and they were obviously quite comfortable and familiar with Harlem Meer.

My guess is that they are the same group of geese who have congregated at Harlem Meer throughout the winter and part of the spring. Then, around the beginning of summer, they either were chased from Harlem Meer or took off on their own, perhaps to molt some place else. Another group of geese was at the Meer for a few days last month, but again, either were chased away or left on their own accord.

A man took pictures on his cell phone of the new arrivals who came right up to him looking for a snack. The birds all seemed a bit skinny from Canada geese I am used to seeing. Perhaps they had been traveling quite a lot or migrated in from some place far away?

They seemed quite happy to see people.

I was thrilled to see the geese as I have missed them at Harlem Meer, as I am now missing the family from Turtle Pond.

It is really hard to find any Canada geese in Central Park right now. Its too early for most to be migrating here from northern locations like the Arctic. And considering the many hundreds or more likely thousands of resident Canada geese who have been rounded up and gassed throughout the New York Metropolitan area (with the exception of Central Park) over the summer, the resident population of these beautiful and whimsical birds has greatly dwindled.

New geese have however arrived at Prospect Park where one of the biggest Canada goose slaughters took place just a month ago. (368 geese and goslings rounded up, bound and gassed.) One person reported seeing as many as 40 new arrivals yesterday.

I really have to hope that among the new Canada geese at Prospect Park, the family from Turtle Pond has not flown there.

We have gotten no assurances from the Prospect Park Alliance that the massacre that occurred there on July 8th would not happen again next year to new geese.

So, I will keep looking around for daddy, mama and their four now grown goslings.

Its easy to recognize them. Daddy walks with a pronounced limp and mama is rather small, dark and round. Her goslings are now bigger than her. I would know the family anywhere.

For now though, to keep an eye on Binky who still remains at Turtle Pond, "Joey," the remaining white duck at Harlem Meer (from an original three) and the new gaggle of geese at Harlem Meer.

I truly hope the "Canadians" (are allowed or choose to) stay a while. -- PCA


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