Goose Stepping Backwards For Christmas

Or The Delights of a Deafening Avian Cacophany going on for hours from before first light.

There’s a lonesome goose in the nearby marina (the next nearest “large” stretch of water to the winding hole here) – Arnie. He takes on all comers and won’t share his space, the entire marina is his. Consequently there are a million and one Canada Geese packed into the winding hole just behind the Cardinal. This morning – our first morning here of the season – they had a community sing-song and then a couple of hours of circuits and bumps.

Believe me, from watching them, they need the practice!

Take-off and landing strip was alongside the Cardinal.

…and, yes, someone had put frost all over the boat and a layer of ice (and leaves and goose-poop) all over the solar panels…

When they weren’t doing circuits and bumps the madding crowd was trying to separate into two groups, one in the winding hole, one ahead of our bows. However, with me either outside or at the open side-hatch the sly little sub-group migrations and exchanges of loyalties were confounded. Each group of a dozen or so trying to sneak past would spot me, about face (about beak?) and paddle back from whence they’d come – until I ducked down (see what I did there??? Geddit? Geddit? Ducked down… Oh forget it then.) or tucked my head back into the boat out of sight, when they’d turn again and creep past.

Odd critters, geese.

With the exception of the brazen Arnie, not the most assertive of boyds, and not the stuff of Alfred Hitchock’s nightmares. So far. Noisier than swans, but far more pleasant to have around (except for the poop).

The V-Bomber formations are a tad scraggy. This my view from the side-hatch, coffee in hand. It’s not Hackney. 🙂

Once or twice I was reminded of Flash Gordon’s Hawkmen, and thought that the formation was about to spell out a message for me.

‘We love you Ian’ perhaps


‘Flash, I love you, but we only have fourteen hours to save the world before Lockdown’


‘Don’t worry, international migration is banned, so we’ll be with you night and day to sing you to sleep”.

But no. After a half-hearted emoticon or two they simply splash-landed and recommenced singing bawdy goose-shanties and jazzy folk songs (ooh – my bestest favourites, combined) with lyrics relating to delicious pond-slime and laying eggs and northerly breezes (if my translations were on the button, and I can’t think why they wouldn’t be).

Not even the morning mist pouring off the fields discouraged them.

Damn it.

Still, at least I know what I’ll be having for Christmas Dinner, lockdown or no lockdown.

Old Roman recipe – take one Canada Goose, remove the honk, prepare as with roast dormouse, and enjoy with a crisp chilled Chianti.

Chin-chin from Honk City.

Ian H., and friends.


    1. Tis indeed to be hoped that they have parachutes secreted about their person. Um – about their birdnesses. They gve the impression of being an amateur mob, flying for a wager after consuming not some little alcohol. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Don’t let them fool you – they are often used as “guard dogs” over here!
    I worked at a university that had a large ornamental pool on the front common and flocks of geese were a problem. The gardeners put a large floating plastic alligator into the pool to try and scare them off. At first they sat, circling the pool staring at it – it was kind of creepy to watch. The next time I checked 3 of them were floating on top of the alligator and the rest were back in the pond!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That conjures up a beautful image of feral, out of control geese marauding about like girls broken out of St Trinian’s School!

      I think that a radio-controlled model aggilator – or crodocile – I’m not fussy – would be a splendid thing to buzz up and down the canals. Possibly past some of the less cheerful anglers…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We’ve lots of Canada geese by our local pond, which isn’t very big as ponds go. There’s a very small lake in what is laughingly called The Country Park, but there are hardly any geese there. There are houses round the pond, si I expect more people with bread. (Bad for them,’)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bread’s a funny thing. The Powers-That-Be in England in the past few years have run a campaign for folk to stop feeding bread to the swans and ducks… and have discovered that swans and ducks are now starving to death. They hadn’t accounted for the wee beasties being used to food being thrown at them, and to their having lost the knack of finding their own. Doh!

      I very occasionally feed “straggler” ducks – if they’re not part of a larger group, or look sickly or something – but I make it seeds or “Alpen” style breakfast cereals (and really not a lot of it at that). They’re not efficient feeders… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I saw an interesting programme on TV once. I showed how birds become less intelligent when they are fed by humans. They set some tasks for the birds and tried it in places where the birds are regularly fed, and again in the open countryside wher they weren’t fed. The birds that were used to being fed failed the test, but the others passed.
        So are we actually doing them a favour by feeding them? Last month, when the berries, fruits etc were at their best, mt local garden centre had a big notice telling people to feed the birds!
        In fact, the time when they need feeding most is summer. Except for insectivorous birds, of course. That’s when natural food is at its lowest.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Wildlife is far better off relying on its own mettle than relying on hoomans – we are hardly reliable! Trouble is, it seems to be a “nice” thing to do, feeding tiny critters, when in fact tis t’opposite of nice. I am in awe of creatures that weigh in at about 10g, have no thumbs and yet survive outdoors all year (unless they’re insects, when i am not in awe at all, just in ugh). 😉

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Recently, we, and 2 of the neighbours, have seen a rat. The pest man who rang us said it’s people putting our stuff (yes, including proper seed) that’s encouraging them.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. There is a park of several acres, called The Goose Ponds, in this town. Great place for a walk/jog/cycle.But a few years ago, someone complained to the local Council about being goosed and the Council did the dirty under cover of darkness: rounded up most of the geese and “relocated” them somewhere else. Prolific breeders, geese. They are back in strength. Quite a few ducks, too, and turtles. No crocodiles lately.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The geese have probably eaten the crocodiles… Check any picnic areas for reptile bones and goose feathers.

      I do wonder whether, in these Interesting Times, the geese here are all destined to be spirited away to (black-)market outlets soon. If men with nets arrive in the night I shall see and hear nothing…

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Don’t be fooled Ian. They are NOT pleasant or passive beasts. They are in a constant state of imagined war with humans.
    Keys to dealing with them: NEVER give way. If you show weakness it’s over.
    Pretend to ignore them – but don’t lose track of them. If they get aggressive, stare them in the eye and keep going. Don’t act aggressive but don’t show weakness.
    If you have a nest in your path, just turn around. Move the boat and call it a loss.

    I spent 3 years of my work life in an office building that had three ponds. And about 800 canadian geese. i watched people get attacked on the regular. And they are like a mob – if one has a successful lunge, the rest join. They were a driving hazard too. People would be late for work waiting for the goose patrol to leisurely walk across a lane. I had a co-worker who deliberately tried to kill one with his car. He was reprimanded. He then began to plan a goose hunting party. Bring your own shotgun. He was fired when he sent the invitation. Something about guns at work… The company did not see the humor in his mock invitation. I’m an animal lover and a gun hater and was still considering attending the imaginary party.

    I maintain that the company treated the architect badly, so he suggested “decorative serenity ponds.” He’s probably still laughing about it now. He dug three large holes, poured some particularly ugly rocks around the edge, put the only pathway to the front door between two “ponds” and then introduced the wild life.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I shall take to heart and act upon your advice. Thank you. They do have the look of a gang-in-waiting about them, and there are far too many to take on at once. The local lone swan breezed through yesterday and I noticed that his body-language was exactly as you describe that mine must be – he sailed right through the middle, gave no quarter but asked no favour, and – oddly for a swan – looked neither to the left nor to the right. The final proof that he was on a mission was his not stopping at my side-hatch to beg for food, but paddling on a couple of hundred yards… away from the geese.

      Architects seem to have a competition running amongst themselves to slip silliness into major contracts. Akin to your building, I worked once in a shiny new state-of-the-art Headquarters of the Company office block housing hundreds – and the architect had contrived to make the glass lift near the senior senior senior office suites land directly in the middle of the indoor decorative fish pond. I spent some years there waiting desperately for the electrics to short out and the carp to develop a taste for (directorial) human flesh. 😉

      I eventually resigned, thoroughly disappointed.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Can he make coffee and toast? Is he any good on the tiller for brief spells? What level of mooring knottery is he trained up to? Does he come with a dowry…


  5. Being goosed that early in the day. The Rear Admiral retired, roused from his hammock by a fly past, what is the world coming to? I’ve heard of Canada Dry not Canada Geese.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To be entirely fair to the Goose First Nation, I had forgotten to display my usual “Do Not Disturb” signs on the mooring… 😉


Comments are closed.