Galley Wench Tales

Exploring the world through the people we meet
and the food they eat.

Canadian geese and their goslings. They’re prolific on here on Hayden Island, Portland Oregon.

Adorably downy and gawky goslings and ducklings waddle and wade about in our neighborhood. 

But what about Dork, the mooch? (For more about Dork, see this earlier post).

Dork, assuming his favorite pose with a not-very-subtle hint about his desires.

Despite his determined dives for tater tots (a one-time treat),  we were discovered that fatty starchy salty food was very bad for him. Rather than contributing too much to his goosy delinquent ways, we switched to the seediest Dave’s Killer Bread we could find. 

Dork’s response to lettuce is significantly less animated that to bread.

We took it a step further and tried feeding him what we read was best for him—vegetative matter. After an initial peck or two at the lettuce we tossed his way, Dork pointedly ignored the rest of his healthy bounty. Then gave us his best “What is this bulls—?!?” glare as the lettuce piled up around him, uneaten.

We caved and broke out the bread. Still, we stuck to the good stuff, except the one day when we ran out, Dork once more refused the lettuce. We gave him a few tortilla chips until we could make it to the store to restock our seedy Dave’s Killer Bread.

Background: the illustrious orange-billed Dork, more charitably known as Beau.Our birding expert cruising friend Alison of Tregoning believes he’s a blend
between a Canadian goose and a white-fronted Canadian goose.

Foreground: Dork’s ladyfriend. Dork is actually much larger than her;
the perspective is misleading.

Long after all the other geese paired off and made goslings, Dork appeared with a lady friend. Initially, she tried to set a better dietary example for Dork, slurping up the seeds floating on the river’s surface rather than hitting us up for a carb load. 

Dork ignored her healthier eating habits as he beelined for our boat. Before long she decided to horn in on his gravy train. 

Dork’s returned with her several times, though he also often ditches his dame. We’ve seen them appear to bicker around the marina, but also waddle contentedly side-by-side through the marina parking lot. 

Mallard trio, plying out marina’s waters.

While Canadian geese like Dork and his lady friend make up the majority of the bird population on the island, there are some other fine feathered friends floating by, like the mallards. Unlike Dork, they don’t panhandle, though one of my West Marine customers hit up our bait shack periodically to feed one of the local herons, complaining about its expensive taste.

Our expert friend Alison says she believes he’s a mallard hybrid.

This mallard hybrid caught our attention with his unusual markings.

Mallard duckling.

This mallard duckling won my award for cutest ducky in the neighborhood. Apparently, the Canadian geese—or at least one—felt otherwise!

Run, ducky, run!

The duckling narrowly escaped an attack from one of the Canadian geese. Her attack happened so fast even my video couldn’t manage a clear frame-by-frame stop-action still of the attack.

Relieved but upset ducky mama gives her wayward baby ducky a lecture.

Last night we returned from our second trip away from the marina for a few days to head to anchor in the sun and under the stars, as we will June 1st for the summer.  Both times, before we rounded the corner to our slip, Dork spotted us and headed our way. This second time, to our surprise, he didn’t mooch. Ah, he must’ve found himself another patsy—maybe one who doesn’t try to get him to eat lettuce. He’s a wily old goose and a bit of a bada–. Squawking loudly, he aggressively charges any other birds he believes is cutting on what he considers his territory. Everyone, except his new lady friend, who, it turns out, is rather aggressive herself.

Location Location
The two days we spent two glorious days anchored off Sauvie Island N45 47.552 W122 47.192 and until June 1st we are back in our slip at Jantzen Bay on Hayden Island N45 36.552 W122.40.545. 

We’re still not sure whether we’ll move our car or our boat for me to make my way back for my once-a-week shift back at West Marine (open for business!). Nor do we know what our options will be come October, given coronavirus. Meanwhile, it’s one day at a time, making the most of what’s in our own backyard. 

This summer, that will be trading ducks and geese for eagles (click here for video and images of the eagles of Sauvie Island), osprey and the occasional heron or two. None of them mooch.