Skagit Valley snow geese in flight

I love day-tripping to the Skagit Valley to see the flocks of snow geese that winter in the area.  Each October, they migrate from their nesting grounds in Wrangel Island off the Siberian Coast.  They spend the winter feeding in the fields of the Skagit Valley and roosting in Skagit Bay before returning north in March.  You have a good chance of seeing the snow geese near Conway and Fir Island, just south of Mount Vernon.  They are an awe-inspiring sight.

Sky filled with snow geese in flight

Incoming, ready for landing

Snow geese feeding on the wet fields of the Skagit Valley

Taking wing

The flock settles in a new feeding area.

“The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.”
—  Wallace Stevens, from “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”

Flock of blackbirds on the driveway

Sometimes I am in the right place at the right time.  I was coming back to the farm after a trip to town and saw this flock of blackbirds on the driveway.  I was fortunate to have my camera in the front seat beside me, so I was able to take a few photos before they continued on their fall migration.  It was like something out of National Geographic!

I approached the feeding flock in the ditch.

Blackbirds taking wing

The flock rises into the air

Blackbirds, like swirling black snow


Flocking Blackbirds

August 16, 2009

Flock of birds convening in tree top

Flock of birds convening in tree top

Birds take to the air

Birds take to the air

Flight, black birds against the sky

Flight, black birds against the sky

Sabbaths 2002: VII
by Wendell Berry

The flocking blackbirds fly across
the river, appearing above the trees
on one side, disappearing beyond
the trees on the other side.  The flock
undulates in passage beneath the opening
of white sky that seems no wider
than the river.  It is mid August.
The year is changing.  The summer’s young
are grown and strong in flight.  Soon now
it will be fall.  The frost will come.
To one who has watched here many years,
all of this is familiar.  And yet
none of it has happened
before as it is happening now.