Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Favorites - Snow Geese

I am joining Chari's of Happy To Design for her Sunday Favorites blog party, and re-posting a story from March 2009. Stop over and visit Chari by clicking the words above - and enjoy the interesting blogs. Thanks Chari.

Today we drove up north to try and find a flock of tundra swans - but they weren't there - and we drove around a while to see if we could find them, but no luck - so this post is in honor of the many birds that overwinter in our area. There are a lot more snow geese than there are Tundra swans - and we love seeing them whenever we can.

Last weekend was the Snow Goose Festival in Stanwood - just south of here. Don and I have been to Skagit Valley to see the snow geese and the Trumpeter swans many times - and this year we found out they have a festival celebrating the birds. We packed up some water, snacks, coats, hats, gloves, walking sticks and walking shoes and headed out early.

We wanted to be on the first tour bus that takes people around to see the magnificent flocks of snow geese. This was a special treat for Don, as he got to be a passenger instead of being the driver - and was able to see much more of the scenery and the birds.

Thousands of Wragnell Island (Russia) Snow Geese winter here - often covering the fields. . .


Our bus was driven by a lovely volunteer, Sharon, from Josephine Care Home. She volunteers for many events, besides doing her regular job as activity coordinator for Josephine Home. She was sweet and accomodating - and very interesting. She told us of trips she has arranged for seniors to Disneyland - to Las Vegas - to see a loved one - many of these she does on her own time. What a thrill to be driven around by such a wonderful woman. I didn't think to get a photo of her - but her memory will last with us for a long time. She is the spirit of giving.

Mt. Baker (second highest peak in WA) in the background. . .

We were able to find a road where we could stop and get out. The main roads have signs posted - and police in plain view - saying NO STOPPING AT ANY TIME - NO PARKING - and they mean it. The main road is a busy highway that goes to the San Juan Island ferries and it would be dangerous and foolish to park and get out of your car on these roads - but you see people doing it all the time.


Hundreds of Snow Geese - walking about - jabbering - eating - fussing with another who gets on their "space".
The geese can fly up and land again without ever sitting on anyone's head - amazing.

A bald eagle is flying over - and the birds are getting restless . . . they don't want to be lunch. . .Up they go - like curtains . . .



The whole flock takes flight - the sound is amazing as they call to each other - we had gotten out of the bus and were standing right next to the flock - we could hear the sound of their wings as they flew up.
Overhead shot - they circled right over us - calling the whole time - it was like a blanket of noise.

Settling back down - the eagle was past and they could get back to eating. They eat grass and seed - and often they will take over a winter wheat field and pluck up the new plants and the seeds. They are also partial to the pea plants that are grown here - eating seed and new sprout. The farmers receive subsidies for their damaged fields.

Then a walk on a self guided tour. It was right along the bay and the tide was way out - leaving us almost no birds to see - and no birds to photograph. There was an amazing amount of drift wood in the area and I loved the shapes of the tree roots. This must be an interesting place in the winter when the storms beat against the shore and the drift wood is piled high.

I thought this one looked like a seal . . .

It was so cold and windy - the wind cut right through our heavy jackets and gloves - so back into the car - and where else - a thrift store of course.!!!!

We poked around for quite a while and didn't find a lot to bring home - but I got two more shopping totes ( 25 cents each) to add to the bunch we carry in the car at all times.

One of the bags was Mary Engelbreit - and the other was for Save the Spirit Bear - a really worthwhile organization - set up by the youth of Canada.


I got some embroidery floss storage boxes - just like this - but not filled with floss. I got four of the boxes for 6.00 and will use a couple for sorting my vintage buttons into - and the others for organizing my floss - which REALLY need organizing.

Then lunch at the Stanwood Cafe - no photos - I never remember to bring in my camera while eating. It was a darling cafe - with great food. Don had a burger and fries - enough fries to serve almost everyone in the place. I had a turkey sandwich and a salad - both delicious. They hire local high school girls to be the waitresses - and all were very helpful.

There are all sorts of antiques in the cafe, as well as a counter with stools that go round and round. While we were there a family of three boys, mom and dad - came in and sat at the counters. The boys really loved those stools. There was such local color there - retired farmers in their overalls and boots - the young family (apparently just finished with basketball practice), older folks chatting with long time friends. And the prices - we had our big filling lunches for just 13.24 for the two of us - you don't see that very often around here. We will certainly go back for lunch when we visit Stanwood again - and next time I'll try and remember to take photos. It was such a great "hometown" cafe.


A great day - birds, shopping, lunch and when we got home - Jahn came over for a visit - just a perfect day. And a tired Grammy.

14 comments:

Fearless Nester said...

Oh my word! So that's where they hang out in the winter. Love that shot with Mt. Baker in the background. It's so gorgeous there. Sounds like that was a fun day...anytime we get to try a new place to eat...it's always fun!

Pat said...

We have the snow geese here for several weeks in the fall...and I enjoy seeing them blanket the fields. Sometimes when they are flying and the sun is out, their wings look nearly irridescent. I know the farmers don't like them, but I think they are fun to watch. Until we moved to southern Delaware, I never saw them.

Chari said...

Hello JoAnn...

My friend, it's so very nice to have you for Sunday Favorites...welcome!!!

What a great post...I really enjoyed it! I just adore snow geese...they are such beautiful and amazing creatures! What an awesome sight...to see that entire field just covered in geese...amazing!!! We have geese that visit here in Colorado through the autumn and winter...I always enjoy watching them!!! Well, it certainly sounds like you and your husband had a fabulous day...thank you for sharing it with us for Sunday Favorites! Oh...and what a way to end the day...stopping at a thrift shop! It just doesn't get any better! Hehe!

Thank you again for participating with Sunday Favorites...hope that you'll join us again!!!

Warmest wishes,
Chari @Happy To Design

Crispy said...

A great post Jo. I can just imagine the racket all those geese were making.

Crispy

Debbie said...

Beautiful! We have an occasional block of Snow Geese here during spring and fall during migration. It is so nice to see them amongst the Canada Geese.

Olde Dame Penniwig said...

Brings back a lot of memories...thank you for reposting your interesting day! Love the pictures, despite forgetting your camera now and again you got a lot of good ones!

belinda said...

Well yes....I remember these snow geese from last year!!! It was still amazing to see them again! You always take such great photos!

Mahala said...

There are so many things I am missing about Washington in the Winter. Amazing photos of the snow geese. I love it.

Purple Pam said...

Great pictures, and a wonderful story. I can feel the flapping of the wings on my face now.

Sharon T in Lynden said...

Your blog is always such a treat Jo. Visually and thoughtfully. I'm trying to carry and use my camera more, and do more recording via blogging, so there is a better record of "life today" than we have of life passed......thanks again!

Judy S. said...

Do you remember when (which month) you saw the geese? I think we went looking last April and found a lot, and I do remember the amazing sound of them taking off. Have you gone to see the eagles yet? That's a fun winter outing, and I've heard they're at their peak.

Elenka said...

Those geese! I have never, ever seen anything like that! What a sight and the sound must have been equally unreal! Sounded like a nice day. I can't wait for outings like that again. (Better than Walmart parking lot....;-)

Porch Days said...

I enjoyed the report of your trip. Thank you for the pictures of the snow birds.

Thanks for your tip about making book marks.

Chris said...

What an amazing sight!