One year ago my wife and I visited Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge for the first time. The huge flock of Snow Geese was incredible and I shared the story, images and video in this post. This year was even better, as the Snow Geese were in mind-boggling numbers — over 1 million birds. In this post I will share some photographs and video from that memorable morning.
We arrived at dawn (a little later than I had planned!) and drove around the lake looking for the geese. At that point they were still streaming in from the nearby farm fields. Our first stopping point featured many Trumpeter Swans and ducks.
As we made our way down the road a little further the assemblage of geese became readily apparent. Here are a couple shots of the swarm, taken from quite a distance:
Birds of prey gather in great numbers here as well, for obvious reasons, so it’s not a surprise that there are numerous Bald Eagles taking advantage of the situation. As we hiked up the berm that divides the main lake, there were many kill sites where geese and ducks had been recently consumed. We came across these mallard feathers and couldn’t help but be struck by the intense, iridescent colors.
I managed to capture this hawk right from the car:
This outing was my first opportunity to shoot video with my new Nikon D800, so I combined that footage with some from our Canon HD camcorder to make this 8-minute video (view full screen in HD if you can!):
By the time we left shortly after noon, it seemed like the geese had filled our entire field of view. It was truly amazing.
The numbers dropped all the way down to 40,000 at the end of February, but the birds have been streaming in over the last week or two and are apparently back in the hundreds of thousands as they make their way north.