Three greylag goose families, West Park

Three greylag goose families, West Park

One visit to West Park had shown a pair of greylag geese with three goslings. Returning a few days later, the birds were in the same spot, the young sadly reduced to two.

As I watched, a second adult pair swam over, leading two slightly younger goslings. All climbed ashore, and arranged themselves as previously. The chicks systematically eating the short grass and perhaps daisies, the adults on the opposite side of the fence, alert keeping guard.

Now yet another pair of adults appeared, swimming in the same direction, with yet another and still younger pair of goslings. These looked as if they had not been hatched more than a day.

This convoy meached the shore where the other birds were already established. The chicks began climbing the steep stonework of the bank, but as the adults tried to follow them, the adults already ashore began hissing and threatening them, at the same time as making a similar response to a magpie which was getting too close to the grazing chicks from the landward side.

The interloper greylags were intimidated from landing. They swam off calling their chicks back into the water to follow them. The magpie decided that a nonchalant stroll in the opposite direction was prudent, so the incident ended with two families together: young ones grazing, their elders on guard