Every year I forget how much work it takes to keep the ol’ homestead up. During the winter months I get a bit of a break as the tasks related to the woods are somewhat suspended beyond dealing with unexpected downed trees overpowered by the additional weight of snow and ice. That all changes when spring starts to push its weight around. Lucked out today as the clouds decided to pelt us with water balloons. To the blogosphere!
I tried my hardest to find some chickens or something equivalent in recognition of my Alma Mater choking away its number one seed in the NCAA Tournament, but no luck. Crap, just realized I could have used an American Coot being that I always refer to them as water chickens. Already have the Canada Goose worked up for today’s post so let’s stick with that.
Hit the jump if you are curious about where today’s featured feathered friend happens to be sitting.
To my credit, this wasn’t a completely random selection. Per the Alma Mater comment above, these shots were actually taken at the University of Illinois in a parking lot just across the street from the Assembly Hall – for those not familiar with the Illini campus, that is where the basketball team plays their home games. It was affectionately referred to as the giant shroom (link here) when “I spent four years prostrate to the higher mind – got my paper, then I was free”. Believe the hall has been renovated since the days I roamed the corridors, however, must say it looked pretty much the same as I remembered it thanks to an opportunity to see a game with my brother there literally the day before the country was shut down a little over a year ago.
Clearly we were not in a lockdown when these shots were taken. We were over there back in April 2018 for the annual running of the Illinois Marathon weekend (link here). This race is a double for me starting with a 5K on Friday followed by a half or full the following morning. Having already done the full there, I had dropped back to the half that year. It is a rarity when it isn’t miserable conditions with nonstop rains with wind speeds in the 20’s. My marathon year was an absolute nightmare to get through (link here).
2018 brought some relief of sorts, at least on that Friday. Nicely cool with clear skies and headwinds staying in the low teens. Should mention that the campus is relatively flat with mostly smaller buildings so the wind just builds steam as it crosses the open prairies. We got the RV parked in our usual spot near the two weekend starting lines and jumped out to assess the weather conditions for the all-important layering analysis. Walked a few spaces down to get away from any wind blockage from the RV and found this family of Canada Geese sitting in their living room watching TV in the middle of a parking lot island.
Let me repeat that – not in the woods, not in a park, rather right in the MIDDLE of a massive parking lot soon to be filled with more than 10,000 crazy people who “enjoy” punishing themselves. Instead of going into my 1 hour zen race prep mode, I thought of my readers and grabbed the camera to take a few shots to share. Tried to keep a calming distance from the mother thinking she might be a little apprehensive with the goslings out and about – quite frankly, don’t think she cared likely being acclimated to crowds from all the daily students milling about.
The father was drifting out a bit away from the rest of the family and would give a warning honk if people were coming too close. I’ve seen and been a victim of a pissed off Canada Goose in the past without offspring being around. This situation just begged for people to be violated, yet nothing beyond the “Hey, if you don’t mind, please don’t step on my family” warning honk. Incredibly intriguing that this couple was so calm. Curious, started looking around and sure enough, there were other nesting Geese at other islands throughout the lot.
Did put a smile on my face while reflecting on this situation. Kudos to the students and other runners who respected nature enough not to bother the Geese for the entire nesting, through egg laying, hatching and now imprinting. I did see a small kid go running after another male Goose that was waddling through the parking lot – he was called back and gently reminded to leave the wildlife alone by his parents bringing another smile to my face. Honestly, from what I have seen they saved that kid from absolute embarrassment – when those Geese get pissed, they can open up a can of whoop ass on you, especially when they stand taller than the antagonist.
A lot of pictures in this post so will call it here. Hope you enjoyed an unusual setting for a gosling feature. Most of the time I bring you gosling shots from various refuges we visit (link here and here), not from the concrete jungle. Note, was just kidding about being distracted from my zen race prep – basically consists of me eating an Oreo, double checking to making sure my shorts won’t fall down (nobody wants that) and giving Linda a peck just in case my heart blows up – time to race!