Over the Labour Day weekend, Canada geese returned to our shores and fields from their summer excursion to the north. Here they will fatten up in preparation for their journey south which usually begins in late December.
Somehow, they have marked their internal calendars to return to Prince Edward Island when the fields are ready to be harvested. Soon, they will flock to the fields in our neighbourhood after the crops have been removed. We hear them before we see their V configuration in the sky. We are often drawn outside to watch them.
Not leaving anything to chance this year, we decided to spend some time watching the geese at low tide in the harbour at Summerside.
There they feed on seaweed which is abundant and fresh at low tide. Camera at the ready, I walked in the red mud flats, amid the pools of water near the geese. Along the way, I saw some sandpipers on the beach
and blue herons take flight.
Although I was anxious to capture the geese in flight, I did not want to disturb the flock.
Later, rather than approach them, I stood on shore opposite their preferred area and observed them for an hour. There were hundreds of geese in the mud flats out to the channel through the harbour.
While I was there, a vessel, either a Canadian Coast Guard or Fisheries Patrol vessel came into the harbour. I hoped the birds would take flight, but even those near the channel ignored the vessel as it cruised in the bay.
Some geese moved around the bay during that hour,
in small flocks, often noisy as they flew. When stood, they faced into the southerly breeze,
stood on one leg, with the second leg tucked under their upper bodies. Often their heads were tucked down as well. They showed tremendous balance and strength.
On occasion an argument broke out, with one bird noisy and aggressive towards another,
neck extended, to nip at the other. Arguments didn't appear to last long but bullies are not limited to the human species.
The time passed all too quickly as I watched, feet wet, camera busy. Next time I'll bring my rubber boots and a tripod.