Shrooms and Goslings in the Concrete Jungle

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!

Canada Goose and Goslings found in University of Illinois campus in April 2018

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.

Canada Goose and Goslings found in University of Illinois campus in April 2018

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.

Canada Goose and Goslings found in University of Illinois campus in April 2018

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).

Canada Goose and Goslings found in University of Illinois campus in April 2018

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.

Canada Goose and Goslings found in University of Illinois campus in April 2018

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.
Canada Goose and Goslings found in University of Illinois campus in April 2018

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.

Canada Goose and Goslings found in University of Illinois campus in April 2018

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!

22 thoughts on “Shrooms and Goslings in the Concrete Jungle”

    1. I didn’t go into it in the post, but this apparently has become the norm in that parking lot. We were back there in ’19 and saw the same situation – obviously wasn’t there in ’20 as the race was canceled and the bball game I saw there in March ended up using a different parking lot. Will have to complete the data collection if they ever open that race up again! Thanks for dropping in CJ.

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      1. There you go a great retirement analysis job. How about tracking the number of eggs to those hatched on rocks to that of grass in the local area?πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ What will future normal be? Seems the geese have figured it out.

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    2. I have to stop signing myself up for these analysis jobs – beginning to feel like work again hehehehe. Maybe I can hire an intern going to school over there for a couple of bucks and get them to do the leg work. Win-win. They get credit for research work and I get an answer to an intriguing question.

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    1. Interesting, so not limited to our aggressive Geese here in the states. I need to get some better Oystercatchers in the tin. The last ones we found ended up being quite a distance away – sounds like I just need to go over there and drive in circles and snap away ha! Appreciate you coming by B, nice monochrome shot treatments by the way – probably need to get it posted, but did the same with a Snow Owl picture I took recently and it came out quite well.

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    1. Don’t think it is a habitat issue, as there is plenty of area/land for them to enjoy throughout the area with the prairies and farmland that surround the campus – they even built the undergrad library underground so as not to disturb the prairie restoration. I definitely like the predator inhibitor aspect – enemy of my enemy is my defender kind of deal. Definitely something I need to explore a bit more – appreciate you dropping in and joining the conversation Sherry!

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  1. Nice photos of little yellow fuzz balls. Reminds me of the parking islands at our former workplace. And lost time injuries for those ignoring the warning honks.

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    1. Ha, I remember having to go through the gauntlet to get into the side door – even if you managed to avoid pissing them off, you still had to dance through their landmines. On that front, still remember being attacked by that damn Red-Winged Blackbird that had decided to nest in one of the parking lot trees. Probably didn’t help that I had shiny staples in my head thanks to the 50K incident which probably caught her eye. She hit the back of my head hard right on those staples. Pissed me off, but didn’t stop me from laughing at the other victims hehehe. Thanks for dropping in Brad .. miss work yet?

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      1. Work!? What’s that? Finally able to sleep to 6am or just bit longer. Itching to get miles on my bike between rain/snowstorms in March.

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    2. I haven’t committed to that early of a rise yet… primarily due to the late nights getting these posts worked up and all the other to-dos I’m trying to get checked off my list before we head out to wide open spaces again. Been navigating the weather as well trying to get the loooong runs in – was just about dry enough to hit the trails and then bam we get slammed with the wet stuff so that will be delayed for a few days again.

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    1. Thank you Sam! A little bit off the trail so to speak but those goslings are just too cute to pass up. Not to mention how accustomed to humans the parents were – normally keeping one eye on the shutter and the other on the peripheral looking to be jumped from behind by an agitated father Goose! Appreciate you stopping by.

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    1. When you are that big and ornery I guess you can put your living room wherever you want. Now if they were Mute Swans they would have ran every human out of that parking lot hehehe. Appreciate you dropping by Timothy.

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  2. Your photos are precious & I so appreciate your sense of humor! Mama looks very calm and assured. I guess, like you said, Papa’s warning calls were enough to keep folks aware & his family safe. When I see wildlife in an urban area, I tend to think “they were here first!” 🌞

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    1. Kind words Lisa. Just hard to imagine these two parents (and the other ones about the other islands in the lost) were so calm with over 10,000 people converging on the area – and something encouraging to be said about the respect those runners have for nature. You are absolutely right with your thoughts – we are intruders in this respect. Appreciate you dropping in Lisa – enjoyed reading about your incredible hikes.

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