Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Snow Geese at Dead Creek or Thelma turns 200,000

Monday - the sun came out! Amazingly, this October has been quite rainy and between work and rain (two words that can produce funny emotional responses), I took the day off and went birding. Dead Creek was my destination where I wanted to end the day with the Snow Geese flying in against the setting sun. Hopefully! Wandering the back roads between Route 7 and Lake Champlain is one of my favorite ways to spend a sunny day birding. At McQuen Slang I found Rusty Blackbirds in the Maple-leaf Viburnum along with many robins. The big surprise was the 45 plus juvenile Cedar Waxwings hawking bugs from the tree tops. Next stop was Whitney Creek to try and locate the Orange-crowned Warbler that was reported on VTbird. There were White-throated Sparrows , Savannah Sparrows and more Cedar Waxwings, but no Orange-crowned Warbler. Butterflies were out sunbathing, taking advantage of the warm sunshine. A half dozen Clouded Sulphurs were showing their wear and tear this late into the season. An Eastern Comma Butterfly (winter form) was also enjoying the sun before hibernating in the leaf liter for the winter. They are one of the first butterflies to fly in the spring, often seen late April and early May. Farrell Access road to Dead Creek was very slow; however, there was a lone female Hooded Merganser feeding at the pool in the bend in the road. When I finally arrived at Brilyea Access with winds out of the northwest, it was also quiet. Highlights there were two Pie-billed Grebes, Green Winged Teal, American Black Ducks, Mallards and a feeding Great Blue Heron. I had just enough time to take this image.
There was one of those large farm “honey bucket” spreaders bearing down on my position; it was time to move. At the goose viewing area there was Lady Bugs all over the place, and the Moon. What can I say! The Snow Geese might be down in numbers, but it is still a thrill to see them fly. Here is a link to a report in the Addision County Independent about the decline in the numbers of Snow Geese at the Dead Creek WMA facility. With the geese well back from the viewing area, I used my 400mm lens to close the distance some. A low flying Northern Harrier spooked the geese and I was able to make this image. I thought that there were about 2500 Snow Geese in the area for the afternoon. They only flew one more time towards the end of the day as the light was fading and most of the geese were in the southeast field anyhow; not a good place for sunset images. I looked back one more time just as I was leaving. Wow! I jumped out of Thelma, the jeep, (the official vehicle for all BFO adventures) and was able to record the header image. On the road as I approached the top of the hill on Route 17 and 22a, I saw the sunset reflected in the rear windows of the Addison town office building. A different way of showing it was a nice sunset.

On the way home Thelma, the Jeep, turned over to 199,000 thousand miles - which leads me to this. Guess the date that Thelma the Jeep goes over 200,000 and win a beautiful framed BFO's bird image for your effort. Person or persons closest to the date and time wins. All you have to do is email me with your Date and Time guess. Here’s a clue. I’m sure that this will happen in the next two to three weeks at the latest.

Use this address to enter : petermanshipdesigns AT gmail dot com

Good Luck!!!

Peter Manship

©2009 Peter Manship all rights reserved

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