I first noticed Gwyndolyn’s nest on April 11th (this year). She chose the little grassy island on the northeastern side of the Children’s Hospital Pond to incubate her eggs for about 4 weeks.
The pond was on my way to work, so I would stop by at least twice a week to see what Gwyndolyn and the other birds were up to. I never saw George, her mate, on the island during the incubation period. He was always on the northwestern side of the pond, swimming or eating grass. The day after the little ones hatched, he joined Gwyndolyn on the island and after that, I always saw the whole family together.
Shortly before the ice thawed in March (spring came early this year), Canada Geese were the first waterbirds to arrive at the pond. I remember seeing 4 or 6 at a time, flying over and around the pond, then landing, honking a lot, chasing each other and showing each other their impressive wingspans. But in April, Gwyndolyn and George were the only Canada Geese on the pond.
I took many photos of Gwyndolyn (of the white eyebrows). I thought I’d start with a little slideshow of the time she spent sitting on her eggs. The cute little yellow fluff-balls with appear in Part 2!
The island viewed from the northwest. April 11th.
A closer look at Gwyndolyn. April 11th.
George eating grass on the northwestern bank of the pond. April 11th.
The pond viewed from the northeast. The little island is in line with the space between the cattails in the foreground. April 13th.
Gwyndolyn on her nest. April 13th.
Stretching her neck for some far away blades of grass.
Stretching her neck and slowly sliding off her nest.
Off her nest.
She sat off her nest and ate for a while.
Then she stood up on somewhat awkward legs.
Mr. Mallard quietly waddled into the water when Gwyndolyn approached. I vaguely remember seeing her walk around for about 10 minutes before returning to her nest, but I didn’t take any photos and I didn’t write anything down. So I actually don’t know what happened next.
Sitting on her nest. April 15th.
Looking a little sleepy.
George eating grass on the peninsula that divides the northern and southern halves of the pond. April 17th.
Gwyndolyn on her nest and eating grass, a little before getting up for a stroll. April 17th.
I photographed her walking around her nest for 5 minutes. And like on April 13th, I don’t know what happened next. I must have walked away to let her eat without being watched.
Keeping her eggs at the right temperature. April 26th.
Scratching an itch? April 27th.
Shifting her eggs.
Looking wide. April 28th.
Green! A big change from the dry grass of April 11th. May 2nd.
Settling back onto her nest.
I walked to the east end of the pond to take a photo with the sun behind me. Less than 48 hours later, her little goslings hatched.