The water was thick with them.
Snow geese are pretty smart — smart enough to winter in the warmer areas of North America and return each summer to their nesting areas in the Arctic tundra. It’s this summer sanctuary that provides us here in western New York a brief but beautiful glimpse of these birds as they migrate northward on the Atlantic flyway.
A favorite rest stop is the Knox-Marcellus Marsh, which lies in the northern part of the sprawling Montezuma Wetlands Complex. Hikers and birders are only rarely allowed foot access to the marsh, but you can get a decent hillside view of it if you can find East Street in the small town of Savannah. Bring a lens long enough to handle a distance of about 1500′ or so. That’s pretty far, but you will be close enough to hear the squawking of maybe 1,000+ snow geese (and a few ducks and swans as well). The geese won’t even know you are there!
From such a distance it will be difficult to get anything that can be cropped into a close-up view, but the mass of white covering the water is awesome, to say the least. While I was there a nearby crop-duster went airborne, frightening at least one of the geese.
And when you frighten one snow goose, you frighten them all! A huge wave of white was the result, circling the water and protesting vociferously until they had calmed down enough to settle back and rest once more.
A few days of rest is all they need, so get your photos while you can. A day or two ago the last of the snow geese were gone. The water is now blue and still, awaiting the return of its resident wildlife — yellowlegs, egrets, and herons will soon be plying these waters as will the osprey and eagles who nest nearby.