Tag Archives: fir island

Snow Geese in the Northwest

The visit of snow geese to the region is a regular feature of winter near Puget Sound.  We went to Fir Island a couple of years ago to see the birds and I spent a free weekend day mooching around the area to see what I could see.  I knew that there were plenty of geese around because, when I stopped off to photograph something else, there were endless flocks of them flying overhead.  Sometimes they would be in tight formations and then others, they would seem to be a bit disorganized.

When on Fir Island, I came around a corner and realized that they had found a field of interest not far from the road.  Pulling off to one side, they were a little further away than ideal but a long lens would help.  As I focused on them, I saw a bunch of birds coming in to land in the background.  I snapped away quickly as I didn’t want to miss this shot.  I needn’t have worried.  There didn’t seem to be any limit to the number of these geese as more just kept on coming.

It really is quite impressive to see so many of these geese in one place.  They travel in huge groups – presumably for safety – and the local farmers are encouraged to plant crops that support their visits in winter.  They must clean out a field at a time and then move on.  Presumably they do some good work fertilizing the fields in the process.

Eagles Over the Marshes

We stopped off for a spot of lunch during our trip to Fir Island.  We had a recommendation in Edison that we took.  As we headed back out after lunch, we were driving across some marshland when we saw some bald eagles.  Pulling off the road, we watch them swooping across the marsh land.  At one point they came right over where we were standing.  An immature eagle was the one that came closest to us but we got a good look at several of them as they went looking for their lunch.  Obviously they didn’t try the place we had been too!

Heron Hunting

On our day trip to Fir Island, one of the first birds we came across was a heron that was standing in the water near the parking lot catching lunch.  I am guessing that the fish in these waters were pretty small because he seemed to catch a lot but always was after another.  Must have been bite sized portions!  With the water so calm, his reflection was very clear giving a nice emphasis to the shape of the body.

Trumpeter Swans

The snow geese I mentioned in this post were not the only visitors we saw while up on Fir Island. Trumpeter Swans were also to be seen. They weren’t there in such numbers when we visited but I understand they are showing up at the moment. We saw a bunch of them on a muddy field which was not helping their white plumage out too much. Then a second group flew overhead and eventually landed in the same field. I was able to get a few shots as they flew across. The long necks make them easy to distinguish from the geese we saw before.

Snow Geese

We took a day trip up to Fir Island. It is about an hour north of us and a popular place for bird watchers. While we are not particularly knowledgeable about such things, we did know that Snow Geese and Trumpeter Swans were supposed to appear in some numbers so we decided to see what we could come across while we were up there. It was a lovely day to be out with a clear blue sky and the warmth that an autumnal sun can still bring. We happened to bump in to a couple of friends of mine and they knew the area well so were able to give us some advice on where to go.

It didn’t take too long to find some Snow Geese. These are apparently a big draw in the area for bird watchers and later in the season the place can be heaving with them. We didn’t see a lot of people so it must have been early. There has been a program to encourage land owners to grow crops that support the birds when they migrate through and it seems to have worked. We saw a bunch of geese across the fields and then, as we drove north, a bunch more were in the fields along the road. More of them seemed to be flying in all the time. Obviously whatever they like to eat is there to be had!