We heard them before we saw them—even with the radio on and the windows closed that February day.
Two thirds around the auto tour loop at the Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, we came past the trees and there they were. Half a million geese—snows and blues congregated on this one portion of the water. Their constant honking united into a single thrumming drone that could almost be felt as well as heard.
If the geese saw a dog or heard one bark, it sent them into a dither. They squawked a united warning; many of them took to the sky. Actually, any movement set them off—a new car pulling up to the scene, people walking to the edge of the water, or a photographer re-positioning his camera. This created a constant swirling stream of birds in the sky above the flock—either taking off or looking for a place to land. A professional photographer nearby informed us the geese cleared the lake when an eagle flew overhead. “The noise of their honking and all those wings flapping was so loud I couldn’t even hear myself think.”
We had hoped to sight a bald eagle on this trip, but this nest in the photo (right) is the closest we came. We were disappointed that we didn’t even see a white head peeking above the nest.
At home, we contented ourselves by checking the video camera
on a pair of nesting eagles in Pennsylvania. Click on link for a view:
If the website doesn’t open properly, try pasting the URL in your browser.
• Maps of Squaw Creek auto tour route are available online. We got ours here.
• Drive completely around the entire ten mile auto tour loop
• Check hours of the Refuge Headquarters if you wish to go inside
• Restrooms are available even when park headquarters are closed
• Best opportunities for eagle sightings: mid-November through mid-January, peeks around December 1st with as many as 300 birds
Travel Light Humor
Although we never saw an eagle, we had an unexpected surprise. While driving the western loop, we noticed a few small huts in the water made of marsh grass. As we continued our drive, we came upon an entire village.
Finally we spotted several dark brown animals about the size of house cats. They dove beside their lodges. Some of them squabbled. Some of them nuzzled muzzle to muzzle. A few whirled and twirled in the water while others re-surfaced on the ice flows to munch on roots. At last they sat still long enough for us to see their tails before they shimmied away.
Do you suppose any of them were named Susie or Sam?
It’s an old song, but maybe a few of you will get it.
What’s your answer to this riddle?
Until next time…Travel Light,
© 2016 SuZan Klassen