Words and photos by Maureen McCoy (so apologies they’re not Paul’s standard!)
Helen’s Bay was a treat this morning, okay it was low tide, there was a load of sea grass on the near side to get through and we had to walk a fair bit out until it was deep enough to swim but there was a healthy contingent of swimmers, one of whom had the cutest companion.
As she walked along the beach cradling this ball of fluff in her arm, I had to find out her story…
“Goose” is a baby Eider duck, possibly around three weeks old and has adopted Clare and her family to live and swim with.
On a kayak trip to Trasnagh Island, Strangford just over three weeks ago, Clare’s 14 year old son met with a morbid sight;
“he found a nest of dead birds, feathers strewn around and no adults to be seen, when he went back to his kayak this tiny duckling was on the seat. He lifted it out but it kept climbing back in again, so he brought it home.”
They think the duckling was only a day or so old. So they’ve looked after her, played with her and Clare regularly takes her swimming.
As Clare and her friends waded in for their swim Goose bobbed along happily swimming beside and between them. Looking for all the world as if she was thinking;
“Yes, I’m cute and yes, the conversation is all about me and yes, I’m fine with that!”
After her swim she’s very happy to snuggle into the crook of an arm and sleep, secure in the knowledge that she’s safe with her adoptive parent.
At home Goose has no worries about her place in the family, she pecks the dog and cats paws to keep them in check and even made strides towards the family goat – Clare managed to scoop her up in time saying that might be a bit more than she could handle – yet!
(Mind you, if she lives up to her name, she could be a worthy adversary – I remember my Grandma kept geese when we were small & they chased us mercilessly!)
A real character Goose is quite happy to be introduced to new people; preening for her photo…
“She also loves a ping pong ball…” Clare told me, “We roll it and she chases it to bring it back!”
Not worried that Goose will just wander away, Clare says;
“She’ll stay with us as long as she wants – she’s a wild duck after all.”
Lovely to meet you Clare & Goose – Happy Swimming!