Geese on Grass

Canada Geese (Branta canadensis)

Geese are a common sight on the irrigated grass of Lake Merritt in Oakland, but not on the dried-up meadows of our park. Yet there was this pair in the early morning, just a few paces west of the paved perimeter trail next to the North Basin. It looked like they were eating the seeds of oatgrass and barley. The next morning, they’d brought a friend, and made themselves at home on the pavement, not alarmed by human pedestrians passing a few feet away (see photo below). These were not feral geese, just arrived from the desolate arctic tundra. These had got the measure of us featherless bipeds in some other park and they knew who was boss, namely they were. As I approached, I saw what brought them here. Alongside the path lay a stretch of marshy ditch ending in a puddle a few yards long. This was fresh water, not salt, a treat. While I didn’t see how it got there, I do know that the Berkeley Fire Department held training exercises in the park over the weekend, and those sessions in the past have involved quite a bit of water. (See the video in “Wildfire Training,” Sep 7 2021.) The geese took advantage.

Canada Geese (Branta canadensis)
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)

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