Honk! Quack!

by Titus Nierwienski | Dec 1, 2022 | 0 comments

Snow Geese flying
Snow Geese flying. Photo © Matt Anderson/Dreamstime.com.

One sunny day we decided to go to Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area. After driving a ways, we stopped and watched an assortment of ducks in some mud puddles. But they were not getting muddy like little children would. There were American Black Ducks, Mallards, Gadwall, and American Wigeons.

After a while we started for the lake where the Snow Geese were. We pulled into the parking lot and unloaded our scope. Hiking back a trail, we came upon the ice-covered lake. Thousands of Snow Geese met our eyes. More were coming in all the time! In the process of landing, they would circle lower and lower till they were almost ready to land. Then the whole flock would start honking loudly as if to say, “Don’t crash into me or land on me.”

A couple of blue morphs were scattered through the flock. Various times a goose would break through the ice it was standing on and then rock back and forth trying to get out. When they did this, they looked like little boats rocking on the water. Then they would succeed in getting back onto the ice again. A little way out from the flock a Bald Eagle sat eating a dead Snow Goose.

Then the most exciting part of all happened. All of a sudden the whole flock lifted into the air with a tremendous roar of wings and voices. Soon they all settled back on the ice again. It was estimated there were about 10,000 geese when they lifted into the air.

A few Tundra Swans were there also. They would glide through the air and settle gracefully into the water. Soon they would fly away again, and more would come in.

We also saw lots of ducks, including American Black Ducks, American Wigeons, Common Mergansers, and Mallards. This is when the scope came in handy. When I was looking through it, I exclaimed, “There are Pintails out there!” That was a life bird for me, and I was excited.

Then my brother exclaimed, “There’s a Northern Shoveler out there too.” Another life bird for me. I was getting more excited.

Too soon it was time to hike back to the parking lot. We were ready to load when again we heard a loud roar of wings and honking voices. We looked back toward the lake and saw that the flock had lifted into the air again. This time there were about 20,000 geese. We packed up and went home with happy memories stored in our minds.

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