07 May 2010

New Marsh Nest

IIII ) lllllllllllllllllllll New Marsh Nest (7May10)

1827 Sspopiikimi - here with Mahoney for an evening of natural therapy and learning after a long day indoors

1831 Walking in at north-pond, right away the triplet couple is swimming past, still with Miracle (slightly larger and a bit more pale than the other goslings) in their family group. The subpond couple, Miracle's biological parents, are here as well. Contrary to various adoption and abandonment theories we've come across, they are not at peace with the arrangement. They're following the family, and we just witnessed the subpond gander fly over to land practically right on top of the goslings. Mama triplet gave him a sharp whack with her wing, then papa chased him away. The gander returned to his wife and the two of them are back to following the family at a distance

1842 One of the north-end coots is way out toward midpond alone, which suggests to us that it is the male, and that his hen (unseen) is sitting her nest in the reeds. Again I feel compelled to bring my waders soon, perhaps over the weekend, to see what she's got

1846 Between north-pond and the ksisskstakioyis there are two aapsspini couples (one on our shore and the other on the wet-meadows), as well as a lone goose we figure as the protester from yesterday, possibly the grown gosling of the canal couple's brood from last year

1854 The goose couple on our shore proves to be the big island nesters. When we approach, the mama stands and there are six goslings under her... one more than what we counted yesterday when we only got a glimpse from a distance

1857 The canal couple are still on their nest number two for the season. Beyond them, out into south pond, the small island nesters are continuing incubation and there are seven additional goose couples spaced around the wide expanse. This is more than we are used to seeing. As the eggs hatch, much of the pond is becoming a neutral zone, welcoming to non-breeding and nest-failed aapsspiniiksi to move over from the river. The big island itself, though, is now up for grabs, and it must not be too late in the game for some couples to start over, because we are witnessing a few battles over this space

1902 From the bench above the peninsula, looking over south-pond and counting ducks, both redhead couples are here diving, there's a lone shoveler drake, a lone blue-winged teal drake, and a blue-winged teal couple. Another female duck just flew in and landed quite a distance from us, behind the islands. The shoveler drake has started giving little quacks, so we suspect it is his mate. She comes nearer to him, but then paddles away on her own toward the wet-meadows. The mallard drake belonging to the nest by the blind is also here, closer to the shallows

1917 Hiking around south-pond via the levee-walk, we hear chorus frogs and red-wing blackbirds. A conspicuous absence is the sound of house finches, which we haven't heard for a while. They must be nesting. And speaking of such things, we believe we've just spotted a new goose nest in the marshy shallows, with a gander concealed in the reeds along one of the beaver canals. I'm going down to check it out

1931 It is a new nest! And a really beautiful one at that. This goose, hereafter to be called the marsh mama, has woven a perfectly symmetrical, down-lined, round platform of bulrush stems, cupped in the middle to hold five eggs. No telling if we've overlooked it on our daily passes along this trail. I doubt it. And her gander is not the one in the reeds, who flies away when I approach. Rather, he is another, standing on one of the island mounds below the blind, where we've previously seen this pair together. I’d say this nest is no more than three or four days into incubation

1937 This marsh couple is not defensive at all. The goose lays low as I approach, with her husband watching from a distance. When I get close, she flies to him. Then the two walk over and proceed to feed along the bank of the levee. I've rejoined Mahoney now, and we are waiting to see them return to the platform. They make one fly-over to ensure the area is safe, then come to a landing to inspect their eggs. All in all, the goose was away for ten minutes, a typical feeding stretch

2005 Our next stop is at the blind, where we survey for new asparagus shoots. There are plenty coming up, but most of them are too short yet, and we always leave a couple good shoots to perpetuate the older, most productive plants. We collect a few fat, juicy stalks and go on our way

2022 Walking through the forest, we see the female flicker exit from her new nesting cavity high in the poplar snag that she was working yesterday. She goes to sit on another tree within sight, expecting us to pass. We decide to wait her out though, and almost as soon as we've settled on the idea, she returns and climbs back in. She must be setting down eggs

2036 Before leaving the forest, we sit on a log and listen to the hoo-ing of resident mourning doves, who we suspect will be nesting soon. As if to confirm this, a pair comes swooping in and out of the canopy above us, a mating chase

2042 Moving up to the cutbank overlooking the river island, we see both aapsspini mamas visible from this shore are sitting on their nests. We know that the downriver one has at least one gosling. The log-nester upstream should have hatched by now too. Probably they are both still using their nest sites as places to sit and keep their babies warm. The Sun passed over the horizon of the coulee rim about a half hour ago, and the temperature is dropping. We’re heading home