Sunday, October 25, 2020

Mike Drew: Goose, goose, duck


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Permission granted, I stalked the geese.

There weren’t quite as many as I’d first thought but there were several hundred of them scattered over the partially harvested field. Most of them were snow geese but there were Canada and white-fronted geese among them as well. There was a good bunch of blue geese in there, too, a darker-feathered variant of the snow geese.

Snow geese in a corn field near Lathom, Ab., on Tuesday, October 13, 2020. Photo by Mike Drew/Postmedia

The rain quit while I was shooting my pictures and the sky to the west was really opening up so I started heading back to town, hoping to find more birds along the way. There were even more geese in the field back by Bassano and flock after flock passed overhead as I rolled back toward Hussar.

Then, just west of Makepeace, I found the dipsy-doodling flock.

I’d just passed through a light rain shower and was heading north when I saw a small slough with a flock of mostly snow geese huddled along the bank. Luckily, there was an approach to the field next to the pond so I pulled over to see what I get.

Wind was blowing the last of the rain around but the sun was finding its way between clouds and lighting up the fields and sky as small flocks of geese flew by and dropped down onto the water.

And then, suddenly, a rainbow appeared. And the descending geese kicked into aerobatic mode.

White-fronted geese make some aerobatic moves as the come in for a landing in front of a rainbow near Hussar, Ab., on Tuesday, October 13, 2020. Photo by Mike Drew/Postmedia

Instead of just dropping to the water like the previous birds had, these ones decided to put on a show. They banked and dove, twisted their bodies, folded their wings and spun as they dropped, each bird going through a random set of manoeuvres before splashing down on the water.

I seriously had to laugh. There’s probably a natural reason why they were doing it — practicing predator avoidance, maybe — but seeing them all doing their individual aerial jitterbugs, I just couldn’t help but think that they were doing it just for the fun of it.

A rainbow, a gaggle of goofy geese and a bit of sunshine at the end of a cold, dark day, yeah, I just had to laugh.

And, still laughing, I rolled on back to town.

Sunset over a pond near Strathmore, Ab., on Tuesday, October 13, 2020. Photo by Mike Drew/Postmedia

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