Two Canada Goslings (Branta canadensis)
A pair of Canada Geese with their goslings
(images above taken earlier today on-site at Seaview Wildlife Encounter)
For those readers who haven't yet visited the Park, the central area comprises a beautiful open area of grassland that we keep uncluttered ready for the return of our nesting pairs of Barnacle Geese (Branta leucopsis) each year. In the early 1970s when the Park first opened 5 pairs were introduced; now there are approximately 75 pairs - most of which return every Spring to raise their young. As of today, this year's gaggle of Barnacle Goslings hasn't started hatching - but watch this space for updates!
In the meantime, I couldn't resist capturing this family of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis). Canada Geese originate in the arctic and temperate areas of North America. Like most species of Geese they are naturally migratory, however where there is constant water, food and a lack of predators (such as at our Park) Canada Geese will remain close-by all year round.
You might have noticed from the image showing the parent Canada Geese with their goslings (immediately above) that the two parent birds look quite different from each other. The female (on the right) has a much darker head and neck, different plumage and a more streamlined physique than her male partner (on the left). This is because the male is a hybrid (a cross between a Canada Goose and a Domestic Goose) who was born here at the Park a couple of years ago. As with most of our waterfowl the fledged youngsters are free to come and go as they please - and this hybrid male has chosen to return to Seaview Wildlife, with his Canada Goose partner, to raise his young. Interspecies breeding is quite common amongst waterfowl. Hopefully the term 'hybrid vigour' will apply to these two new goslings and they'll go on to produce strong, healthy families of their own (returning to build their nests here in years to come).