[Tweeters] Skagit Swans and Geese

Sunny Walter sunny at sunnywalter.com
Sat Feb 11 12:27:19 PST 2006

Four of us had an incredible day yesterday observing and photographing
trumpeter swans and snow geese in the Skagit.

Many hundreds of swans were in the slough at the entrance to Johnson
DeBay Preserve east of Mt Vernon and more kept joining them. We arrived
at 8:30 and photographed the swans gliding across the water, taking off,
and flying in and out. Most had left by about 9:30. They were a
glorious sight against the clear blue skies. They did not go directly
to the mown fields at the preserve, but flew out to other fields before
coming back to the preserve later.

We then drove to Fir Island and saw many thousands of snow geese in
three locations. Snow geese were flying in from the water around 10:30
or 11:00 and we followed a large flock to a field north of Fir Island
Road, just east of the Hayton Farms Preserve. A willing farmer let us
drive onto his property and get really close to the birds. I somehow
don't think we too close as more kept coming in and they all kept moving
closer and closer to us until we we able to watch their interactions and
capture great close-up images of them eating, doing little territorial
dances, ducking their heads into a pond and then stretching their necks
up high as they drank. Best of all were the many images of geese flying
in against the blue sky.

After a late lunch at the North Fork access, we observed another several
thousand geese just off Maupin Road to the east. Lots of flying in and
out. Good pictures.

On our way home, we drove down to Boe Rd south of Stanwood and out
toward the Port Susan Bay Preserve. Again, we observed a very large
fock of snow geese north of the road. As we were watching, another
large flock came drifting in from the west to swell their numbers to
several thousand. Lots of good flight pictures.

I've never had a such a glorious day in the Skagit -- incredible
weather, lots of swans and geese up close, and wonderful photo ops.
We also saw lots of eagles, red tail hawks, and other raptors, of course.

Sunny Walter
12525 206th Pl SE
Issaquah, Washington 98027
sunny at sunnywalter.com

Co-author of (and photographer for)
"Washington Nature Weekends, 52 Adventures in Nature"

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