Sunday, November 4, 2007

Down and dirty with the Snow Geese.

More from yesterday...
The feature that attracted the geese was a half-acre un-mowed mound suitable for grazing and sleeping.

So many geese naturally attract naturalists, who inevitably direct their children to stand in front of such phenomena, for scale and posterity.

The problem is, you find out later, that just because the geese are not exactly where you are right now, at one point, perhaps yesterday, they were, and they were eating where you are now standing and, of course, pooping, which they seem to do almost continuously, like a bottomless Play-doh Fun Factory. So your child, whom you have coaxed to get closer to the geese, ends up with sneakers that are in no way going back into the car.

And another mistake: kneel on one knee to get a goose's eye view of things. Result: fowled jeans.

Other denizens of Terra Nova venture forth to document this event.

Young (grey) and mature (white), sentries and snoozers.

And still they come. This is probably the peak. They will be along this stretch of coast in smaller numbers all winter, but many of the geese here now are in transit, heading for estuaries in Washington, Oregon, and California.

Update: See here for snow geese in 2008-09.


Wanderin' Weeta said...

We are hoping, if the weather permits, to go looking for the geese tomorrow. We have seen them before on Westham Island, in the field just off the entry-way to Reifel.

Would it be better to look in Terra Nova, or back on the island? (Which is more easily accessible to us, so if it's 50-50, that's where we'd go.)

Thanks. And those are beautiful photos!

A Local Naturalist said...

I've also seen them in that field on Westham, but when we were there on Oct 27 there were none on the ground. My in-laws live in Terra Nova and have been complaining to me about the geese for more than a week. (Some people.) For the time being, the geese seem to have taken over that neighbourhood. The flock we saw yesterday were in Terra Nova Park, a small neighbourhood park south off River Road (the Richmond River Road) on Barnard Drive. There is also the wildlife area between the very far, disjunct end of Westminster Hwy and the Quilchena Golf course; sometimes they gather there. Or they could be anywhere along that northwest curve of the dike.

It's hard to know what to do. The geese come and go as they will, but based on our recent experiences I would head to Terra Nova, even though it's nowhere near as pleasant a drive.

Good luck. The sight and SOUND of these birds is a wonder. Our daughter was asleep in her car-seat and we carried her out to the edge of the flock. When she awoke in her mother's arms to that scene, well, it was one of those moments. Her face went from sleepy confusion to amazed glee.

I hope you have a similar moment. Or perhaps two or three.


Wanderin' Weeta said...

Thanks, Hugh.

And it was raining, so we decided not to brave the traffic and went to Westham instead. You were right; no geese.

Next year, maybe.

Anyhow, I wrote about the outing, here.