A spherical gosling

Sometimes I get images of birds that appear to have four legs or two heads but this time I smiled to see a little fluff ball.

 

Cape Barren Goose - Kim Wormald

Cape Barren Goose

 

I was using the car as a mobile hide (to avoid disturbing the birds) which meant the shooting angle hides the legs of the preening gosling standing behind its sibling, which is a bit of a spoiler.

Cape Barren Geese form pairs that mate for life. The male builds the nest amongst grassy tussocks and lines it with down, the female incubates the eggs and after 35 days the young hatch. These little guys are not long out of the nest.

 

Cape Barren Goose - Kim WormaldCape Barren Goose – grazing goslings

 

These littlies must be amongst the cutest hatchlings on the planet. There are usually between 4 and 7 Cape Barren Geese in a clutch and it is testimony to the fierce guarding of the parent birds that so many are able to survive.

 

Cape Barren Goose - Kim WormaldCape Barren Goose

 

Hatchlings are often difficult to photograph as their downy feathers are incredibly fine and move with even the gentlest of breezes. There was a chill wind when I was shooting these guys so I had to make sure my shutter speed was as high as possible, which meant upping the ISO in the less than perfect lighting conditions.

 

Cape Barren Goose - Kim WormaldCape Barren Goose

 

Aren’t their legs interesting? Their dark grey legs will become bright pinkish-red as they grow older, their ceres will become bright green and their eyes will turn reddish-pink. They will gradually lose the camouflaging stripes that help them hide amongst the grasses and will become predominantly pale grey.

 

Cape Barren Goose - Kim WormaldCape Barren Goose

 

As I was a fair distance from the birds the parents rarely looked towards me but when one did glance across with a watchful eye I quickly pressed the shutter button.

When I photograph birds it’s essential to me that I don’t disturb them. I like seeing them go about their daily business and if this means missing a shot so be it. I take what I call ‘heart photos’ for those days and commit them to memory rather than memory cards.

Happy birding, Kim

 

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