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Goosie Goosie Gander

Last week, I had a stroll along the waterfront in Portocolom’s natural harbour when I stumbled upon a small flock of geese presumably of the Anser fabalis category. I assumed they were wild geese; the head gander, not shown here, certainly acted quite aggressively. There are three autochtonous goose varieties native to the Illes Balears: the Anser albifrons, the Anser anser, and the Anser fabalis.

Years ago, when we lived in the Mallorcan coutryside we were given a pair of geese of the Anser cygnoides (Chinese goose) variety, not indigenous to Mallorca. They were mute and had strange basal knobs on the upper side of their bill. They were rather well behaved and fitted in well with our other farmyard animals, chicken, dogs and cats. One fine day, six or eight goslings hatched and could soon be seen parading all in a line behind their mum and dad. Strangely enough, they all just vanished within a day or two after we got used to their presence. From our limited understanding, the goslings would have been too young to be able to fly or even to walk for any long distance. We did not find evidence of a possible blood bath caused by a ferret or weasel, either. Perhaps they were simply stolen, we thought. We never got to the bottom of that mystery, but never had any geese since. Every time I see geese in the wild, flashes of memories of the tiny goslings pass through my mind.

The photo was taken in Portocolom, Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: September 15th, 2010. The time was 14:49:02.

3 replies »

  1. I have had martas take chicks in the Spring without leaving any sign they were there during the night. When they have killed chickens, they leave the body and take the head back for their young. I think it is the only part they are able to carry away. It is very disagreeable to come to the chicken house in the morning and find headless bodies. I have also had rats carry off guinea pigs without leaving a trace. Either of these might explain your poor goslings disappearing.

  2. There have been ducks/geese in that area under the trees as long as I have been in the felanitx area – 15years.
    People seem to feed them as there is often evidence of food and water containers.
    They are a nice addition to the area.

    So where will they go if its all made a concrete paseo as this I believe is what is going to happen.

  3. I was there recently and came across these geese in the company of my daughter and grandson who took off like ‘scalded cats’ when the geese approached us aggressively. I, as a ‘country bumpkin’, stood my ground and sat down whereby, the geese settled right beside me and started a nice ‘conversation’.
    It never fails to amuse me that people will pat a huge dog which, if it feels like it can take a half pound of flesh from one’s body while, a goose doesn’t have the equipment to be a physical threat…. except for a noisy reminder that YOU are encroaching on their territory.
    I hope that they are there when I next visit the beautiful port of Porto Colom and the town of Felanitx.
    Hasta el año que viene!

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September 2010


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