Saturday, September 21, 2013

Pic of the Day

Nebamun Fowling in the Marshes
New Kingdom tomb fresco-secco, c. 1350 BC
      The first time I saw an Egyptian goose was in an art history book.  The image was a reproduction of the “fowling” or hunting scene from the tomb of Nebamun, a “scribe and counter of grain”. Nebamun means, “My Lord is Amun,” and he lived around 1350 BC.  Hunting scenes are somewhat common in Egyptian tomb art, and it seems that Egyptian Geese were a frequent target of the fowler.  In the above scene, an Egyptian Goose is seen at the front of the boat.

Egyptian Goose, Alopochen aegyptiacus;
Photographed on the campus of Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama
     I shot these images at Unity Pond on the Campus of Oakwood University.  About a week-and-a-half ago, one of the grounds keeper told me he had seen a couple of unusual geese mixed with the local population of Canada Geese.  As I drove from class to class over the following days I looked for the weird geese, but did not see them.
     Last Sunday, while bird watching with one of my students he told me he had seen what he thought were Egyptian Geese at one of the ponds on campus. I continued to look for the geese all week as I drove from one class to another.  Finally on Thursday, about noon I saw the geese standing under a tree near one of the campus ponds.  As soon as I saw them I too thought they were Egyptian Geese.  Once I got home I consulted a waterfowl field guide and discovered that the birds were indeed, Egyptian Geese.  They must be escapees from a local farm or zoo, but at the time I did not see bands on the birds.

   The next day I found the birds mixed within a flock of about 200 Canada Geese. They were a bit more cautious than the Canadas, but did allow me to get close enough for photographs.  The first thing I looked for were banded legs, and I did see a yellow band on the legs of both birds.  Though it is not a numbered band, (it looks like a large yellow electrical tie), It does tell me that the birds are escapees from an aviary farm or zoo.  Never the less it was exciting to see living, breathing geese like those the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt hunted along the Nile more than 3,500 years ago.

To learn more about Nebamun and the frescos found in his tomb, go to:

(all 3) Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/1000 sec. @ f7.1

1 comment:

  1. I love the look of these birds! Wow...and such great history about them, too.