February 17 - March 14, 2009 Squaw Creek NWR

A Ton of Snow Geese - 1.2 Million Max

Let the geese madness begin.

The one thing I learned was one really needs to stop a lens down for depth of field when shooting scenes like this. I was often no where near stopped down enough. The other thing is, it only looks really white when you are seeing their bodies, like closer to the camera. As you get further out, you are mostly just seeing heads and many of those had a lot of orange coloring(plus the beak).

That is a really wide area full of snow geese. It went left and right of here about 6-7 times as much.

Closer to sunset and a lot of the geese have already taken off to eat.

This was one morning after the majority left to eat. There were two "small" piles like this on either side of this levee/road I was standing on. They got spooked up and were flying back and forth right above me. It was absolutely nuts. This was a very wide angle shot, probably 10mm. The shadows on the ground were so cool. Looked like machine gun fire everywhere. You look up and it's just a mass going both ways overhead. I hope I got some decent video of this. I'm not sure.

Layers going both ways.

Filtering back in from breakfast on the 19th. Their counts aren't done everyday. The one was 600,000 on the 16th and then the next was 1.2 million on the 24th. I'm pretty sure that 1.2 million was there by this day on the 19th. It was crazy once it was filling back in. I even thought to myself, there have to be over 1 million here now. Then that next count came out with 1.2 million. I never saw more there than I did this day out of the 11 I was there between the 16th and March 14th. Simply insane.

It was just a small pile out there before they began to fill back in. Then it just looked like the same birds fluttering around above. Well, you could also see long long streams from the west, from the northeast, and from the southeast. I just loved that part of the day. If someone were with you after sunrise, but before they came back you could tell them, "watch this" lol. Day after day it would happen like this. There were only a couple exceptions.

Whenever you'd get a rapid wall lifting off the water, you could count on an eagle being somewhere. Sometimes the eagles were way way up there. I'd think, how are they noticing him clear up there. Most times though the eagle would buzz in right above this and usually you'd lose sight of him in the mix.

See how the foreground looks brighter white, but further in it is much more muted. I didn't get why it was doing that at first, till I saw some of their orange heads closer up. I think that goes away as they get older or something.

It really didn't get old watching the mass lift up. Listening to them could get a bit old however.

I'd love to view some of these full size and count the birds, but yeah that would be impossible(without getting lost).

Before sunrise on the 24th. If the light is still low enough you can get some fun shots with varying longer shutters of a second or so.

Here comes a wave.

It's a lot easier to shoot these when it's not 10F and windy! This place freezes and thaws so easily. One night of 10F and the completely open waters will be 90% frozen the next morning. It's really shallow, not sure how much so, but I kind of doubt it's 5 feet deep anywhere.

Different morning as evident by the fact it is frozen again. March 4th now on this one. I think the count was down to 500,000 on the 2nd.

March 4th still. This was surely the sickest wave action I'd seen. The amount of birds in the air was nuts. Two massive flocks were converging with the bigger coming from the left.

You get the idea. You can only take so many mass of snow geese pictures before it is onto something else. The last few days there I was essentially taking zero of that. They were only doing this when eagles were harassing them, which was most every day.

Before sunrise on the 24th. If the light is still low enough you can get some fun shots with varying longer shutters of a second or so.

Here comes a wave.

It's a lot easier to shoot these when it's not 10F and windy! This place freezes and thaws so easily. One night of 10F and the completely open waters will be 90% frozen the next morning. It's really shallow, not sure how much so, but I kind of doubt it's 5 feet deep anywhere.

Different morning as evident by the fact it is frozen again. March 4th now on this one. I think the count was down to 500,000 on the 2nd.

March 4th still. This was surely the sickest wave action I'd seen. The amount of birds in the air was nuts. Two massive flocks were converging with the bigger coming from the left.

You get the idea. You can only take so many mass of snow geese pictures before it is onto something else. The last few days there I was essentially taking zero of that. They were only doing this when eagles were harassing them, which was most every day.