Tag Archives: Skagit

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.

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.

Varieties of Tulip Shape

I thought tulips came in one shape.  I was wrong.  Walking around the gardens at RoozenGaarde in Mt Vernon, I got to see so many varieties of tulip and I was amazed at the different shapes and sizes.  Color varieties was something I expected but I didn’t realize just how large some blooms were and I was even more surprised at some plants that, had I not been told that they were tulips, I would never have known.  Fringing of the petals, curvatures that were totally different to the norm and all sorts of variations in between were eye opening.  I guess tulips are a complex subject!

Tulip Festival

The Skagit Valley sits about an hour north of Seattle and is home to a lot of tulip farms.  The spring is the time for the tulip festival.  Unfortunately, the beginning of the festival was not a great time for us to get up there with other things going on.  However, as things calmed down for us, we were able to get up there towards the end of things.  We may have missed the peak time but there was still some impressive stuff to see (and hopefully quite a few less people!).

The fields were absolutely full of tulips.  They filled your field of view and you quickly became blasé about the vibrance of color around you.  Finding a way to try and convey the sight was a little trickier.  The thing I did find particularly visually appealing was the way that people would be walking along the paths between the flowers but appear to be afloat in a sea of flowers.  They were all busy photographing themselves in amongst the tulips so were not aware that they were the subject of more than one photo.