Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Gravel eating geese: Phillip Island

A honking call this afternoon caught my attention and there circling our house --huge wings flapping -- was a pair of Cape Barren geese. They landed on the grass between our house and the sea, honking softly to one another as they waddled sedately towards the gravel road.

Here they picked up pieces of fine gravel in their broad bills and then swallowed. My guess is that they need the gravel to digest their diet of rough native grasses.

Whenever I see a pair of Cape Barren Geese -- their numbers are increasing on the island -- I'm impressed by the strong bond that exists between the birds.

Cape Barren geese breed on Phillip Island and on other islands in Bass Strait (a stretch of turbulent water between southern Victoria and Tasmania) such as Flinders Island and Cape Barren Island.

Their presence is always welcomed, and their trumpeting, honking call always gives me a thrill.

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