Friday, November 6, 2009

Freezout Lake Lake's Spring Snow Goose Migration

It is a bit late for this blog/article/crappy journalism, but hey . . . better late than never! So here it goes, my first blog . . .

On April 4, 2009, my sister and went traveling north to Freezout Lake Wildlife Management Area near Fairfiled, MT. There is an incredible event that happens here every spring: the migration of the snow goose. Around 100,000 plus snow geese use this lake and its surronding series of ponds as a "rest stop" as they fly north to their summer feeding grounds. These geese fly from their southern wintering grounds (California, Baja and Mexico) up the "Pacific Flyway", a major north-south migratory route for birds. Freezout Lake happens to be on this route. The geese fatten up on the spent grain in the surrounding farm fields. After a couple of days, they head north to nest in either Hudson Bay, Alaska or Russia.

The geese leave the lake in the morning to feed in the fields. Around 10am, the geese return to water for a bit R & R. Around 5pm, the geese take off to the fields to feed again, returning back to the safety of the lake before dark. For me, it is the take-off from the water and the returning to the water that is the most spectacular. When one flock leaves to feed, a couple other flocks may head out with them. A wall of white leaving the water. When it is time to return to the water, many flocks dot the sky with a check-mark like pattern. The flocks will merge high above the lake, then swirl down to the water.

So enough blah, blah, blah. It's time to see some pictures and a little video, poorly narrated by my sister and I.

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