Monday Meanderings: Snow Geese

{Monday Meanderings: Musings & Observations From Beyond the Bead Studio}

Art’s Alive Festival

On Saturday, my friend, Rose  and I headed about 125 miles north to the small waterfront  town of La Conner, WA to visit their 26th annual Art’s Alive Festival.    In past years, this festival has drawn about 2000 visitors to view art in about 17 different galleries in and near La Conner. Many of the galleries feature  regional artists demonstrating wood carving, watercolor painting, weaving or silk painting.  Rose and I got a lot of our Christmas shopping done–knowing our gifts will be delightfully unique and will support independent artists, not huge corporations.

storefront in La Conner, WA

Serendipity and Snow Geese!

Rose was driving and I had drifted off to sleep, (I am so not a morning person!).  We were about 20 minutes outside of La Conner, when suddenly Rose said, “Oh, look!”.  And there to the left of us was a huge field teaming with hundreds and hundreds of snow geese.  We joined other cars that had pulled off to the side of the road.  Serious birders and photographers had out their single lens reflex cameras with giant lenses attached.  I was just thrilled to have my new compact camera in my purse.  Some women told us the birds had just arrived about 15 minutes ago. It was an amazing sight.  The field, which turned out to be part of the Skagit Wildlife Area, was a sea of white.

A field of Snow Geese at the Skagit Wildlife Area Nov. 6, 2010

White snow geese near La Conner, WA

Back home, I did some research and learned that from November through March each year, thousands of Snow Geese come to western Washington to fatten themselves before the long Spring migration to northern Canada. The Skagit Valley (which includes La Conner) is a major wintering place for the snow geese.  The estuaries and moist farmlands provide the nutrition the birds need to survive the bitter arctic temperatures where they breed, and it is here where they find their mates.

Four flying snow geese near La Conner, WA

Quick Facts:

Here are some quick facts about snow geese (from Nature Photography):

  • Weight: Males – 6 lbs Females – 5.5  lbs
  • Average speed:  50 mph
  • Migration distance: 3,000 miles
  • Wing span: 35 inches
  • Diet:  shoots, roots, grass, bulbs, insects, berries, grains, aquatic plants and invertebrates

"Honk, honk!"