Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Today the geese move north

Sparrow studies the chickens intently
Today the Canada geese are moving north.  In the early morning I’ve already seen a dozen or more large flocks of them, filling the sky, heading over the mountains on their flight north.  This is the second day of a true warm-up, a sure sign winter is easing and enough to move the waterfowl out of their wintering grounds.  Actually, the 11th of March is late for this movement. Often, the last week of February is when I see flocks aflight in this area.  This year, of course, waterfowl were then still held to the south by snow and ice and the tight grip of winter.

It’s not just Canada geese on the move today.  At 2:45 a.m., on one of my overnight trips outside for the puppies, a small flock of snow geese honked and flew overhead.  Against the overcast sky, their bright white feathers looked as though they were illuminated from within.  They coursed over the forest, perhaps a few tree-heights above the tree tops.

Snow geese are among the earliest of the migrants to move north.  They hurry to reach their breeding grounds. This year I wonder how their late flight will impact that.  The flight this year is a good two weeks later than usual.  Will this impact breeding success?   If fall comes early, will the year’s new geese be ready for the stress of migration?

I have yet to see the tundra swans whistling their way north. Perhaps I will before the day is over. Perhaps they are already gone.  Spring is underway.


pablo said...

The geese around here seem to be flying to every point of the compass.

Sharkbytes said...

I love the way the snow geese look like they sparkle when they fly. Don't see them every year, but sometimes.