My sister, Pam and I spent a day this week driving around the 3,400 acres of Squaw Creek’s wetlands. We anticipated seeing thousands of Snow Geese. We drove and drove…finally one lonely Snow Goose sitting by the side of the road. We assumed he(she) was ill since being alone like that is not normal behavior. Lots of ducks everywhere…most notable and exciting for us were Buffleheads, Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintails, and American Wigeons. Hundreds of other ducks all mixed in the flocks, like Mallards, Blue-winged Teal and Gadwalls. I kept wishing I hadn’t given my spotting scope to my son several years ago. Ducks need to be closer in my vision to be really exciting. Toward the end of our tour we found three Trumpeter Swans enjoying their nap. Only briefly did they raise their heads to see what was going on. Then it happened. All of a sudden thousands of Snow Geese swirled into sight and settled on the water. The Squaw Creek web site says there were 210,758 Snow Geese present that day. The week before they claim 643,822 Snow Geese were present. If we’d come that day we might have seen them sooner with that many.
I remembered an experience several years ago. Our friend and guide, Dave Richards visited from Nairobi. We drove him to Squaw Creek to enjoy this amazing sight. Not a Snow Goose to be seen all day. We had just said, “We might as well go home.” Then they swirled in by the millions. One of those birding moments you never forget.