Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Snow Geese

Here are the photos I promised in my previous blog post. Cyndi and I went to the Fort Boise Wildlife Management Area to see the Snow Geese. When we arrived, people were already gazing at great chevrons of migrating geese filling the sky.

There were thousands of Snow Geese in the air. They are on their way to Alaska to lay eggs, but stop here to feed and rest for a few days or weeks before continuing northward.

Great swarms flew overhead, then fluttered like dry leaves to settle down onto the nearby water as Marsh Wrens called from the nearby cattails. We also saw this group of Northern Pintail, another long-distance migrant. They shuttle between Alaska and Hawaii.

The clear blue sky made the perfect backdrop for these birds. From high overhead we also heard the primitive call of Sandhill Cranes.

For what seemed hours, the Snow Geese kept arriving. Some were just returning from a morning of feeding nearby, others were perhaps migrating in to join those already here.

Mixed in are some Greater White-fronted Geese, which get their name from the white on their face. They sport dark wings and a speckled belly.

Cyndi pointed out that the Greater White-fronted Geese each have a unique pattern, like a fingerprint, of speckles and streaks.

The elegant black and white pattern of the Snow Geese steals the show, as does the cacophony of their calls as they pass overhead by the hundreds or even thousands.

Then they settle behind the safe cover of tall marsh reeds to rest for the day, occasionally lifting into the air as a group if some predatory bird flies overhead. We saw Red-tailed Hawks, Northern Harriers, and American Kestrels in the area.

1 comment:

Cynthia said...

Wow! What an amazing, overwhelming sight! Thanks for sharing this and capturing the flavor of the moment.