Protecting family, ferociously

While on holiday in Hermanus Western Cape I decided to spend one afternoon at a local salt pan in Onrus. I was met by a rustic scene with lots of Seagulls, Cormorants and some Egyptian Geese. While I was enjoying the scenery, a female Egyptian Goose with some ducklings entered the water from some shrubs. Male Egyptian Geese are very territorial and protective of the female and will aggressively defend them.

Just as they were settling down and started swimming past, all hell broke loose. A male Egyptian Goose flew in from the side and the mother reacted very quickly by attacking the intruder.

Out of nowhere (I did not notice from where) another bird joined the fight (I thought it was probably the male protecting his family). It was a very serious battle with biting, wing flaps and water splashing everywhere.

At one stage the male was trying his best to drown the intruder by submerging him under the water.

The intruder managed to save himself and very rapidly flew off (tail between the legs) and family life returned to normal. The duckling disappeared during the fight but promptly returned to the female after all calmed down.

What amazed me the most was the speed all this happened at. The interval between first image (female reacting) to last image (drowning attempt) was 9 seconds.

As everything started to calm down some movement to the side drew my attention, another spectator, just as surprised as myself.

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