Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Our first snowfall

Snow geese are an annual visitor to Richmond, to the delight of some, and the disdain of school janitors.

We've been hearing them squawking overhead for the last few weeks, but last week, we checked out the flock gathering at the school.  While sights of the field inundated with birds is common, normally there might only be between a dozen to a hundred birds landing at once.  Never have we seen a flock of thousands of birds landing at once.  It was quite a treat, standing in the midst of such commotion.

The flock was quite uniform - I saw only a single ring-billed gull and a blue morph as part of the flock.

ring-billed gull - it walked around for a few seconds with its wing spread, though with no apparent sign of injury

blue colour morph

In a world where it seems every species is in decline, it's comforting to see some wilderness finding success in spite of humanity.  Snow geese are increasing at the rate of 5% per year (Wikipedia), giving hope that our children's children might be able to enjoy this form of wildlife.

At one point, something spooked them, and we felt the wind of thousands of beating wings frantically ascending at once. There was no point in trying to dodge the bits of mud and mostly-digested grass dropping off their feet as they took to the skies.

And like the snow that falls around our city, it can disappear quickly, leaving only a bit of sludge behind.


Bella Sinclair said...

Oh my goodness! They just keep coming and coming and coming! That is amazing and, as you say, very heartening. I loved watching the sense of awe in your adorable little boy, the one bright spot of red in a sea of white and green. Living snow that brings the gift of organic fertilizer. :)

Hugh said...

What a fun video. Great to see your little guy out there with them. That's a big flock, even by Richmond standards.

Susannah Anderson said...

Wow! What a huge flock! And what a memory for your kid, watching them come in!