Friday, April 22, 2016 Geese!

Seward, Alaska

What a great 3 days! THIS was the big spring rush for geese and more cranes.

A friend reported geese at the wetlands at the head of the bay around 6 pm on Tuesday, April 19. When I finally got there around 9 pm, it was almost dark, but I saw the solid shapes of about 100-150 GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE and CACKLING GEESE feeding voraciously on sedges. It was even more fun to hear their joyous conversations, so glad to feast before their migration continued to the Yukon Flats.

At 9:30 pm, I suddenly heard garbled, high-pitched cries high overhead and looked up in the darkening sky to see hundreds of GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE and likely CACKLING GEESE, migrating overhead in long, wavering lines and curved bows, heading north. I could still hear them at 10:30 pm, though it was too dark to see.

I checked on them the next morning, April 20, and they were still there, feeding, preening, and napping, a wonderful sight! At 9 am, the dark, glowering clouds spit rain and SANDHILL CRANES. They flew high overhead, followed by another joyous flock a few minutes later. Ten minutes later, I heard the faint bugling of yet another flock and watched the long, undulating line of specks grow larger as they streamed up the bay, getting louder and louder until they were overhead and past. What a thrill!

I checked again on April 21, and Greater White-fronted Geese and Cackling Geese were still feeding at the wetlands, though it was impossible to know if these were the same birds. Walking around the block at 11:45 pm, I heard that laughing, garbled cry overhead as several flocks flew north in the dark. 

Maybe those were the stopover feeding geese, as they were all gone by the next day. If we are lucky, we’ll see or hear them in the fall for another brief visit on their way south.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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