North Cascades Photography – Skagit Valley Snow Geese
Winter tends to be a bit wet and gray. But then the Snow Geese arrive! If you’re out and about on the Cascade Loop in the winter months, be sure to come for a visit!
They tend to flock together as they move from field to field in search of food. According to this article Snow Geese of the Pacific Flyway “most of the Snow geese wintering in the Skagit were born abroad on Russia’s Wrangel Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the northernmost nesting ground for 100 migratory bird species. The island also has the largest population of Pacific walruses and the highest concentration of polar bear dens in the world.”
There is also a simple map of the locations:
Their size and bright color makes them stand out against any background. Getting a decent shot is harder than it looks, trying to catch both the close up features of an individual Snow goose while also conveying the size of the flock as well as the sky and background…
One great place to go see all sorts of birds is Fir Island. “A major component of the Skagit River Delta, the island is an important habitat for wildlife. Migrating from the northern portion of Wrangel Island in Russia, 30,000 to 70,000 snow geese spend the winter on the Skagit River Delta and the Fraser River Delta of British Columbia. Important internationally, this population and one that winters in California, are the only snow geese that migrate between Eurasia and North America and the only remnant still extant in Eurasia.
Other migratory waterfowl include tundra swans, trumpeter swans and the bald eagle. Over the course of a year, 180 species of birds have been recorded at Skagit Wildlife Area, 13,000 acres (53 km2) of mostly tidelands and intertidal marsh, the largest section of which is located on the southern margin of the island.
These image are from Padilla Pay in Feb, 2019.
There is a trail along the shoreline, maintained by the county. Check out the Padilla Bay Foundation, their web site is awesome!
Really its just hit or miss and a lot of driving about the valley to find where they are at any particular time. Last night at sunset there was a huge group at Padilla Bay, but then I went back there for sunrise, I did not see one Snow Goose!
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