19 October 2012

Observing Snow Geese

In late October at the Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area, Route 17, Panton, Vermont, the Canada and Snow Goose flocks arrive. They've been arriving this year for weeks, but as of last Saturday there was only a medium size flock in the far distance on the ground.
The visitor's area is usually packed on the week-ends when the flocks are in the hundreds, if not thousands. The best time for observing,I feel, is in the early morning when the shadows are long and the sun rises just a bit left when looking south across the flocks in the fields. I haven't been there at sunset, but I imagine it can be just as spectacular.

More information links:
Birding in Addison County blog
Wikemapia Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area

In the fall of 1998 I sat in my car with coffee and a  cheese Danish, sketching and observing a humongous flock of Snow Geese...for over 4 hours. (Note there is now a port-a-pottie on site.)

Sitting in the back seat with a front seat down provides decent support for larger sketch books. At that time I had watercolor paper, and a small sketch book.  The three things I watch the most are perspective, light and the behavior of the birds.

Observing isn't the same as watching or just looking at something. Observing is engaging your mind to take note of the behavior and surrounding environment.

The next time I visit I'll take color pencils for quick color notations. Setting up watercolors isn't ideal when birds and light are on the move. The area can be quite lively at times.

 Thee best time is when a humongous flock arrives...have an umbrella handy because the dropping are like cement.

If you visit in the morning, then don't miss seeing the sunlight through the wings as the geese land.


  1. Maywyn - great sketches with notes - love the idea of sitting in the back seat with front seat down - now that is creativity at its best!!

  2. Hi Debbie,

    I had a small 3 cylinder Geo Metro in those days. Great on gas, but not so roomy.


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