Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Snow Geese

My friend Rosanne sent me a link to a video of Tundra Swans flying at Pungo Lake in North Carolina today.

It reminded me of a trip to Bosque del Apache Patty and I went on, christmas week 2012. It was our first christmas trip together.

We saw Snow Geese.

 Lots of Snow Geese.

Lots and lots of Snow Geese.

But we almost didn't see any. We landed in El Paso, Texas on christmas day and headed off to New Mexico. And we were told how fortunate we were as this was the first time in twenty-five years that it had snowed on christmas!

Yay! Lucky us.

We didn't go to New Mexico for snow and cold. But that's what we got.

The reason to go to Bosque is for the many many Snow Geese and Sandhill Cranes that overwinter there. And to experience the spectacle of thousands of Snow Geese taking off en masse at dawn.

The place to see this is known as "the flight deck". And Patty and I found ourselves there before dawn. Waiting in the cold dark December morning. It was eerily quiet. Geese are normally very loud, honking away. We discovered why when the sky began to brighten. The lake was frozen over. There were no geese!

Fortunately, the lake is long. And we headed north to see if we could find some geese. We did and just in time to see them take flight:

Amazingly, they all decide to go at once. A curtain lifting off and flying away. Magical.

The numbers were quite astounding. Even more so when we learned that since the lake was frozen over, most of the geese were down at the river. A river we could not get to because there roads were blocked by snow and ice. And they have no plows to clear the roads.

In fact, had we been arrived a day earlier, we would not have been able to get into the refuge.  They were using big front loaders to shovel the snow off the road.

We could see the clouds of geese off toward the river.

Steams of birds flying off for a day of bird business.

We spent the day wandering about the refuge  (we saw road runners!) and were back at the lake when the geese came in to roost for the night.

We went back the next morning and were there to see the birds emerge in the dawn twilight.

A white christmas and the magic of nature. Santa was good to us.

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