Saturday, March 28, 2015

Magpie Goose

Most birds that we watch are generally quite active, hardly resting at a particular place for a long time. The Magpie Goose (Anseranas semipalmata ) though were an exception to the rule. Probably the most sedentary birds that we have seen. Found throughout the northern and easters Australian coast, these birds have an cry that sounds like a loud honk.
Although the bird has seen a decline in population over a period of time- hunting of the bird is permitted so as to maintain a viable population and also not to have an excess pest like population.
The red background that you see in some of the photographs is because of a water fern or plant called Azolla. This plant which can rapidly spread, in the presence of phosphorous is red in the presence of sun and green in shade. The entire water body was covered with Azolla giving it a lovely red carpet appearance.
Diverting a bit from natural history- a little Trivial pursuit. According to some dictionaries the plural of Goose is not geese as we would naturally assume. Geese is used only if there are 1,2,3,4,6, or 8 geese, if there are 5,7,9 or higher then its "gooses" .
If that was not enough a flock of geese when not flying is called a 'Gaggle'- when in flight they become a 'Skein'. The word 'Gaggle' originated  in the late 15c from 'gagyll', with reference to both geese and women.