Monday Smiles – 8/27/2012

Our park has beautiful trees, three lakes and several streams.   It has ducks, geese, bluebirds, hawks, herons and egrets.  It has rabbits and squirrels, both the tree and ground variety.   It has little meadows hidden among the trees where the wildflowers grow.  Sometimes, I think that I’m the only one that notices.  But … let there be a brood of baby mallards by the lake, and everyone’s stopping to look, phones out to take pictures.  A little over week ago, Muri came home from her Tuesday night walking group and asked, Did you see the babies?   What babies?, I said, knowing it’s too late in the year for ducklings.  The baby geese, she said.  There are three of them.

The geese she’s talking about are Egyptian Geese.  Egyptian Geese are native to Africa south of the Sahara and to the Nile Valley.  Note: not Yorba Linda, CA.  In addition to pond ducks and migrating flocks, our park has a number of orphans, domestic ducks and geese acquired as Easter chicks then abandoned … and yes, two Egyptian Geese of unknown origin.  They are beautiful birds, but like most geese, they are very territorial and have a nasty disposition.  I once saw a pair of them peck a mallard to death just for the hell of it.   And they’re even nastier when they’re tending their young, which they need to be because the park can be a dangerous place for goslings.  But Mom and Dad have help … another Yorba Regional Park orphan, a huge Swan Goose, has decided he’s Papa Goose and if anyone comes near, they have to deal with him.

Sometimes, though, even Papa Goose needs help.  When I stopped by on Saturday to get a few pictures of the gaggle, two witless dog-walkers were strolling the lakeside, letting their Chihuahuas off leash to chase the ducks and laughing about the feathered frenzy.  Eying Papa Goose, they shouted, Look at that big one, and headed our way.   Now, I’m sure Papa Goose could handle one Chihuahuas but there were three … so I let my Inner Curmudgeon take over.  There are babies over here, he growled menacingly.  If you let those rats* loose here, they’ll hurt them.  Papa Goose spread his wings and honked for emphasis.  The dog walkers and Chihuahuas considered the goose and the geezer, then left without a word.  Older Eyes and Papa Goose had things under control.  Tut, Ramses and Isis are safe**.

It’s Monday … I’m smiling.

* OK, dog-people.  I know you love your dogs, even  your Chihuahuas.  IC usually goes for shock value, and as my Dad used to say, he didn’t mean anything by it.

** They are Egyptian, after all.

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