Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Greylag Goose

Meet Michael! This is a Grey lag Goose and may look familiar to anyone who has been to Quidi Vidi Lake. The story goes that this Grey lag Goose arrived about 8 years ago and has been here ever since. He has become such a mainstay at the West end of the lake that he was named.

Michael mixes with the many ducks at the lake and always shows up when someone arrives with feed. He will go quite close to anyone who is tossing feed to the birds but will typically stay away from people at other times. If you move toward him, he will usually head to the water.

Michael is quite vocal and has a very loud honking voice. It is no trouble to tell when he is excited!
The Grey lag Goose is most frequently found in Europe though it is known to travel to Asia and to breed in the U.S. These birds do fly but Michael doesn't. It is unclear if he was a domestic duck that was let loose at the lake or if he just landed here and stayed. The Grey lag Goose is said to be the origin of domestic geese.

No matter what his story is, he has provided many hours of enjoyment to the frequent visitors to the lake. It is great for the children to be able to see such a large and loud bird.

It was actually my encounter with my first Canada Goose of the season yesterday that prompted me to introduce you to Michael.

I found this Canada Goose at 4th Pond in Goulds yesterday. He was there with a few Black Ducks, no mate in sight. I have been back in Newfoundland for over two years now and this is the first Canada Goose that I have seen since my return. They are not a frequent sight here.

Unlike Michael, this goose did not want to be near people. It was impossible to get close to him. He studied my every move and would counter to ensure there was a safe distance between us. I think he was quite happy when I left.

For a quick comparison between the Grey lag Goose and the Pink-footed Goose, I have provided a picture. These are the only three types of geese that I have seen in Newfoundland.

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