Friday, July 10, 2020

Postcards from the Lake: The Nightly Show

Summer evenings in Northern Michigan are long ones. It can be as late as 10:30 at night and there is still a bit -- just a bit -- of light remaining. The clouds, if there are any, and much of the sky is close to inky black but there's just a hint of light remaining.


Shortly before that -- sometimes as early as eight when the sun is still hot, more often as dusk moves in -- a stately sight occurs. I'm not even sure the correct word to use -- parade sounds too jolly. Flotilla, too naval. But one begins to see, far out on the water, the vague shapes of seven or eight Canada Geese, bobbing gently on the water.  They are majestic.


Seven or eight? Not by half. Within minutes, and from different directions, they are joined by dozens more of their elegant friends, forming a line so long, my camera lens can't capture it.


"Surely, you jest," you might say. "Dozens? Really?"


Really.


This occurrence has happened nightly since we have been here. One night I counted seventy-six; the next, eighty-eight. And to be honest, I probably missed more than a few as they blocked each other as they floated along.



Most of them end up on our neighbor's beach and lawn with its rich grass. Some find something worth eating on ours. Others just lay still or float in the shallows. And then, after quite a long awhile ashore, as if some unheard but powerful command was issued, they set out again.


Where they go, I don't know.


I just know that I've come to look so forward to it, that on one of those nights when it got to be late and there was no sign of them, I was worried. Then, in the dark, I heard a bit of honking. They were there. And all was well.


(These photos were taken in multiple visits in late June and early July.)

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46 comments:

Susie said...

Jeanie, I had to laugh about you counting the geese. It just seemed like something I would do. :):) I hope you are loving your days at the lake. It has been hot , so a nice lake visit has to be fun. Enjoy your time . Blessings,

Misadventures of Widowhood said...

So cool to see your waterfowl hotel fill up at sunset. They have a way of bringing us all to center, don't they.

Linda Sue said...

Holy Smoke! Quite a number of geese! The shore must be, um, slippery and a bit smelly.

My Tata's Cottage said...

Beautiful photos!I love summer best when it is not 97 as it is today. :-) Have a great weekend.

Barb said...

Looks like a goose reunion to talk over the day, Jeanie!I love these just-before-dark photos.

Susan Kane said...

Geese are so elegant in the water. Don't mess with them when they come ashore!

Glad to hear you are having such a view of the water.

Pam Richardson said...

Jeanie, that was a chore to count all the geese. Forty years ago to spot a Canadian goose was a reason to celebrate. Because there is so much water around us, they have moved in here permanently. They actually block 6-lane traffic when they decide to cross over.

Tammie Lee said...

Yes, you still have your babies, but maybe now they are teenagers? How wonderful! A beautiful nightly event. It stays light that late here as well.

Karen said...

One summer we went way north Ontario to a place called Fushimi. It's near Hearst. Anyway, we were sitting around the camp chatting with a fellow camper, having a nice time. Mike thought we should go for a walk, so we go to the truck to get our flashlights, and happen to notice the time. It was 11PM and still light enough to see!!!!
A friend of mine who lives in Sault Ste. Marie, MI. was commenting that the time of sunset between his place and the city of Toronto is 1/2 hour different!
We once saw a whole gaggle of LOONS. There were 25 or 30 all swimming around our boat. It was the first week of September so perhaps they were flocking up for migration. Our Canada geese hang around until really late. In the city where my sister lives they never leave!

Amy at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes said...

What a wonderful summer ritual! I've seen them do something similar at a lake near me - they all go into the water at the same time, and then, as if they get a signal (which I'm sure somehow they do), they all return to the grass.

Pamela said...

We can't get together in large groups these days, but it's fun to see the geese with their friends and families.

Valerie-Jael said...

Nice photos. The Canada geese love to get together. There are often hundreds along the Rhine, and it is an impressive sight. Have a wonderful day! Hugs, Valerie

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

OK, they look elegant in your photos, but they have taken up residence in my neighborhood. We can't get rid of them because people feed them. They never leave. Their babies grow up and never leave. We have hundreds, too, but ours don't leave during part of the day like yours do. And you have a LOT more water for yours to be on than we have. I'm glad they make you happy. Would you like me to ship you about a thousand more (grin)?

DUTA said...

Well, it's their kingdom too.
The fauna members of the water, the sky, the earth - won't let us forget that even for a moment - we are here, they seem to say.
Beautiful pictures of the geese in the lake's water!

Rustic Pumpkin said...

Indeed, how do you describe them? Such a treat, an absolute pleasure to watch as the day winds down on the lake. How can you find out where they go to roost, I wonder? Have you ever seen a murmuration of starlings? Certainly worth checking out on YouTube if you haven't. Magical and mystical. I know you would love it.

~~~Deb in Wales

Iris Flavia said...

:-) Same here, oh, do I loooove those long nights!
Hubby´d heard of visitors from Australia who told their kids to come back when it gets dark.
We had a good laugh!

Oh, your pics remind me of the Grimm´s fairy tale The Six Swans.Maybe they look for shirts?
Where they go? Bet they see their sister.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Jeanie

LOL, counting geese, is that like counting sheep? We still have lots of geese here, they seem to be populating the world. Love the views of the lake and pretty reflections. Loved the photos, great series.
Happy weekend, enjoy your day!

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Great coverage of the geese, Jeanie. Just a brief visit today. My daughter is visiting from Ottawa and we have places to go and things to do,

eileeninmd said...

Hi Jeanie,
Just stopping back to say thank you for sharing your post.. Enjoy your day, happy weekend!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

My goodness! What an amazing sight! And the lighting is perfect to get neat photos. I love them!

Mae Travels said...

The lateness of darkness in Michigan is due not only to the season, of course, but also because we are so far west in our time zone. The day is the same length at similar latitudes along the east coast, but darkness comes earlier (as does the dawn, obviously). That also explains some of the big gap between Toronto and the Soo that someone mentioned.

As the climate changes and the environment changes due to human activity, the birdlife is changing too. So we have geese geese geese. I think your decision to enjoy them is a positive thing, though to some people and in some places they are definitely becoming pests.

Sorry to go all pedantic on you!

be well... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

There's never a shortage of Canada geese. At my daughter's university, they are a big problem - very messy (actually messing up the dorm windows) and sometimes aggressive. I prefer them out on the water like you have them! Love you lake photos. -Jenn

thepaintedapron.com said...

How beautiful! Nature is so fascinating, especially when there is water involved!
Jenna

Joanne Huffman said...

Beautiful photos. I really hate the mess Canada geese make; so I'd rather see them in your photos than deal with them on my lawn.

shoreacres said...

This is the time of year when I envy those of you in the more northerly latitudes, who get those nice, long days. I well remember being astonished during my first summertime visit to Canada, when the twilight lasted until nearly 10:30 or 11:00 p.m. The 'land of the midnight sun' is the best example, of course, although I'd not want to put up with those long, long winter nights in exchange!

I see the same behavior that your geese exhibit in our mallards and coots. Maybe they're getting together to count beaks, just to be sure everyone still is present and accounted for.

Jacqueline~Cabin and Cottage said...

Just dreamy! There are few bodies of water like this in NM. But we do have a few resident Canadian geese in Albuquerque believe it or not. I always stop to watch as they fly low overhead after feeding in the fields. Especially in fall and winter when the numbers are up. I count them too! Haha!

The French Hutch said...

Jeanie, I think you have some fine feathered friends to keep you company during the summer of Covid 2020! I should watch and listen to them all night. Speaking of which I love the long daylight days of summer. I love the early morning hours as well and a cup of coffee and your lake view would be all I needed, well maybe a few books too. Enjoy, enjoy, before it's only a memory........Love your lake photos..........

Sandi Magle said...

Wonderful photos and great observations...we have geese on our lake, and it's fun to watch how fast they grow from cute little fluffs to gangly teens and in a blink are full grown and practicing flying. Loved this post!

gigi-hawaii said...

Gorgeous geese! I love the black and white effect.

Linda said...

There is something so magical about the silhouettes at sunset. You captured them well.

Adam Jones said...

I always look forward to the geese calling and flying overhead as they go to roost, more in winter here. How great for you to have them so close by.

Mary Rose's said...

So love this story and the photos!

(Really sharp in lowlight - nice!)

I was looking for a word, and found a Naval Formations page (British) that suggested squadron, flotilla, air wing, and finally fleet. So I'm suggesting the Otsego Geese Fleet mostly because of the long-E sounds.

On my walk this morning, I saw four young geese cross the road ahead of me, headed for the water. They were followed nearly a minute later by two grownup geese (Mom & Dad?), waddling very quickly to catch up. Another 30 seconds, and one more young goose, flying very low and fast trying to join the rest.

Conclusions: Geese do not use the construct of Time.

Enjoy your lake life!
XOXOXOX

Evi Erlinda said...

Beautiful atmosphere in the late summer sunset!

Love your silhouette photos, and your narration invite me to have fun counting the birds in the photos.

Have an awesome weekend!

Red Rose Alley said...

The lake looks so pretty, Jeanie. 10:30 there's still some light! Wow, that is late. Oh, those geese are wonderful. Never saw so many of them at one time. I wonder if they are a family, or friends of the family too hahaha. Lovely photos, Jeanie, and they exude such peace.

~Sheri

Sandra at Maison De Jardin said...

Jeanie, these photos are gorgeous. I do love Canadian Geese and they fly over our house every morning. Just to see me, of course. However, we are close to the river and they call that their home here in the 'Hills.'

What I really love about these photos are the sunset reflections on the water. To me, that is stunningly beautiful.

Enjoy your weekend!

Prims By The Water said...

What an awesome nightly view! Janice

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

What a beautiful ritual these graceful geese enjoy. We often see a similar occurrence on the river in the early mornings when we walk the trail. I do believe they are quite social and love to congregate together. Your photos are wonderful, Jeanie.

Anu said...

Beautiful photos.

My name is Erika. said...

Wow. That is an amazing number of geese. They say with the pandemic nature is coming back. Not sure this is that or not but very nice photos. And you stay light so late being in the far side of the time zone. That must be really nice. Enjoy hugs erika

BeachGypsy said...

Love these pictures........this just looks so relaxing!! Fun to watch them! How hot is it where you are? It's so hot and humid here......sigh.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Wow that is so cool! I wonder what makes them all gather! How do they know when and where to meet! I have never seen something like this! My parents said they have seen a blue heron on their swimming raft and it was having quite a lunch of fish as lots swim around their raft. My mom said it was really cool to see. It made me think of you and what you’ve seen at the ditch!

Arti said...

Despite being thousands of miles apart (not sure exactly how many), I know at least we share the long summer days (sunset at 10 pm) and Canada Geese, and lakes. Beautiful pics. I can feel the serenity. :)

Victoria Zigler said...

I bet that's awesome to witness, and can see why you'd look forward to it every night. It's nice you get to watch and listen to it, and have something like that to look forward to at the end of each day.

Regina said...

They are so beautiful! We saw Canadian geese once here in AZ and was surprised to see them here.

gretchenjoanna said...

A Flotilla of Geese, for sure! "Flotilla" is a fun word. We have Canada Geese here in my California town; they fly back and forth from the University pond to the reclamation pond, and are permanent residents. They were one of my favorite things about moving here from a more rural area, where we didn't see geese - haha!

Lowcarb team member said...

Beautiful photographs :)

All the best Jan

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