Snow Geese at Dead Creek

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We used to go every year. We got married in mid-October so we would travel past Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area, on our way to go hiking in New York, every year. We looked forward to seeing the Snow Geese. There is a wildlife viewing station just off Route 17 and there would be hundreds of them. It was a spectacle.

There would be a blanket of white geese, thousands of them–honking, rising and falling in groups, waves of them landing or taking off. They would cluster right up to the fence at times, pecking away at the residue in the cut corn fields. It was hard to contain it in one’s imagination, let alone absorb the reality of it.

We don’t go hiking in New York every year now, but yesterday morning I went down to Dead Creek to see the geese, the rest of my family still in bed. I was alone there at first, arriving before the sun rose. A flock of Snow Geese was gathered close enough to see them, but they kept their distance from the viewing area. Then they started to rise and fly overhead. They did not take off all at once, but in large groups. They V-ed their way right over me, settling on the other side of the road in a cleared field. Eventually they all had migrated from the south side to the north side.

They flew as the sun broke the horizon, so they were lit from below. Their black wing tips contrasted with the white of their bodies. They honked, higher and a little squeakier than Canada Geese, their calling filling the morning. I looked for other geese, a White-Fronted Goose or a Ross’s Goose mixed in perhaps, but they all were Snow Geese.

By the time I was ready to head out, other people were arriving. I chatted a bit with them. They had missed the Peregrine Falcon perched right overhead, and the chatter of the Red-Winged Blackbirds. I drove up the road a ways to see if could find anything else, but it was a quiet morning. When I passed by again there was a big crowd, there to see the geese. For a while in the golden light of morning I had them all to myself. While there are not nearly as many as there were years ago, it was still a spectacle for a perfect October morning.

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Tractor Parade 2009

Last Sunday we took the trip over the hill to Charlotte for the annual tractor parade. ┬áNext year it will be on October tenth, and will be the tenth one–10th on 10/10. The weather was pretty much perfect, candy was involved and the display of machines was impressive. Here are a few shots from the day:

The Crowd Gathered

The Crowd Gathered

The Pumpkin Lady Handed Out Candy

The Pumpkin Lady Handed Out Candy

No Tractor Parade is Complete Without a Sousaphone

No Tractor Parade is Complete Without a Sousaphone

The Band Got Things Started

The Band Got Things Started

This Guy Took the Lead

This Guy Took the Lead

Dressed for the Weather

Dressed for the Weather

Rainbow of Tractors

Rainbow of Tractors

Oddest Tractor Award

Oddest Tractor Award

Over From New York Again This Year

Over From New York Again This Year

Orange Tractor

Orange Tractor

Blue Tractor

Blue Tractor

Pink Tractor

Pink Tractor

Small Tractor, Large Man

Small Tractor, Large Man

Proper Headgear

Proper Headgear

There They Go

There They Go

See You Next Year

See You Next Year