EGYPTIAN GOOSE FEEDING

Egyptian Geese are predominantly herbivorous. The water in this dam is shallow, however, providing an ideal opportunity for this goose to augment its general diet of seeds, leaves, and grasses with small aquatic invertebrates. So, eyes above water:

Eyes below water:

Success, perhaps:

 

DOMKRAG WATERHOLE

It is worth spending time at a waterhole. Patience and careful observation can reap many unexpected rewards. Take the well-known Domkrag Waterhole in the Addo Elephant National Park: this is unusual in that visitors are welcome to get out and can look down on the waterhole, over a short hedge of Spekboom. A familiar sight here is a Karoo Scrub-robin that watches one carefully from within the Spekboom hedge before emerging to see if anything worthwhile to eat has been dropped by visitors.

Signs warn of the risks, making it worthwhile focusing on the whole environment and not only the water below.

A Hadeda Ibis preened itself at the edge of the water, the early morning sunshine highlighting its iridescent feathers.

Not far away, a pair of Egyptian Geese warmed themselves in the sun, sitting close to the ground and out of the way of an icy breeze.

Standing next to the reeds, a Black-headed Heron stood motionless – watching the water with the kind of patience few of us would be able to maintain for long.

While an African Spoonbill waded about more actively to find its food.

There was so much more to see, but those will have to wait for another post.

EGYPTIAN GOOSE FAMILY

During these uncertain times, thoughts turn to family members wherever they happen to be. We want them to be safe, to be happy and to be untouched by this virus that is blanketing our lives at the moment. Horror stories, ghoulish statistics, common-sense advice and light-hearted memes abound. One has to sift through the sombre and the sensational to build a mental picture of where we are in the world community as well as how our local communities are faring. That your immediate surroundings may be free of the virus so far is no cause for celebration for it travels along paths unknown at speeds we have no formula for.

How pleasant it was then to get out into the sunshine and to observe this Egyptian Goose wandering along the grass growing at the edge of a dam. To me it looks both peaceful and is walking with purpose. Its warm brown eye looked at me in a friendly fashion and made me feel at peace.

While I was enjoying a cup of hot tea and a freshly baked muffin, it was looking for a morsel to eat. See how its eyes are focused on something close to its feet.

Upon hearing a light splash, I looked up in time to see another Egyptian Goose setting off for deeper water with its goslings in tow. The goose family together, doing what they need to do: caring, feeding, sheltering, and treating each day anew. That is what we need to do too.

BOTTOMS UP

“Bottoms up!” is a phrase sometimes used as a toast instead of “Cheers!” that friends say to each other before drinking beer, for example. While these Egyptian Geese were not indulging in anything alcoholic, they may well have uttered this phrase to their companions.

As with drinking, this would have encouraged the four of them to dabble together in order to investigate what lay under the shallow water. Their foraging would have included looking for larvae and pupae, plant material, snails and perhaps some fresh water crabs.

There is always one who decides not to ‘play that game’ anymore.

And often someone will be standing on the side-lines hoping to be invited.