Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wiggly's Playground (and other Duck and Goose Updates)

(Photos:  1--  Buster and his gang of seven.  Back now from whatever "goose spa" they were at for the past three months.  2--  Whiteface: The mystery of his flock's "goose spa" seemingly solved. 3-- Wiggly and Honker last night at Harlem Mere.  Adapting to change and loss. Together again.)

The Buster is Back (and his gaggle of brats)

I was apparently wrong the other day when speculating that the family of 8 geese who arrived to the Boat Lake this past week were not Buster and his "bad family."

The geese looked so spiffy, youthful and robust, I apparently did not recognize Buster who over the spring and summer sported tufts of missing feathers along his chest (souvenirs of past goose battles, no doubt).  

But, according to Lianna who regularly monitors the Boat Lake, the new family is in fact, the old family -- or "bad family" as she calls Buster and his gang of seven (comprised of"wife," Bonnie and six kids hatched this past spring). 

Apparently, Buster ran out the 5 geese from Turtle Pond who made the mistake of hopping to the Boat Lake yesterday.

"All of a sudden, Buster came flying across the lake with his neck stretched out and honking!" reported Lianna yesterday.  "He went right towards the 5 geese and they had to immediately take off!  Oh, Buster is so bad!  And now, he has his army of grown kids behind him!"

Both Lianna and I are worried for Mama and Papa goose should they happen to return to the Boat Lake shortly as they are expected to.

Unless Papa shows up with his own "army" of adult kids from 2010, the older gander is not going to be able to take on Buster and his now fully grown gaggle of brats.

Buster's feathers may have changed, but not his behavior.

The Mystery of Whiteface

Whiteface and his flock of seven geese were not at Harlem Mere last night.  Apparently, the mere was just a brief stopover for them as it has been for other geese over the spring and summer.

However, part of this flock's mystery may have been solved.  Specifically, where the Reservoir geese spent the last 12 weeks after leaving the Reservoir at the completion of the summer molt in late July.

Apparently, they'd been feasting and loafing at Morningside Park which is a little further north than Central Park.  

Another wildlife observer sent me a photo today of what she thought another white faced goose who had been at Morningside Park for some weeks.  

But, I am quite sure they are the same goose, right down to the black spot under Whiteface's eye.

And here I thought they had been at some luxury goose spa over the past 12 weeks -- or avian Botox clinic!

It is simply incredible, the differences in goose appearances from the times they go through the summer molt and the time barely three months later.

They are unrecognizable -- unless one ponders major plastic surgery.

Wiggly's Playground

It has been pleasing to see that Wiggly and Honker are back together again at Harlem Mere. 

The two domestic ducks had separated briefly following the tragic death and loss of their leader, Brad a few weeks ago.

I am not sure if it was some kind of grief or disorientation that caused the two ducks to wander from each other and be observed in different areas of the mere for almost two weeks.  But, thankfully, they have found each other again and established reconnection.

I believe it important for these two flightless ducks to be together and organized to face the challenges of the upcoming winter.

Fortunately, Wiggly has the advantage of having survived last winter under the protective and mentoring wing of Brad.

The Khaki Campbell duck has in fact taken on some of the behaviors of Brad over the past week or two, including being now the first duck to recognize and greet me when I arrive to the mere (something that was previously Brad's role).  Wiggly also seems to be establishing herself as the now "top duck" of Harlem Meer, though unlike Brad, she still has some tendencies towards flights of fancy and wandering.

Nevertheless, I am reasonably confident that Wiggly learned enough last winter from Brad to be able to settle down to seriousness and leadership over the next few months.

Harlem Mere seems to becoming fast, "Wiggly's Playground."  -- PCA


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