Swans & Geese in the Skagit & Stilliguamish Deltas

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Light is everything in bird photography! The time of day will affect the number and types of birds seen in flying overhead or feeding in the farm fields. The photo above is taken at dusk, and the birds are Trumeter Swans. Both Trumpeter and Tundra swans migrate and winter in the Skagit and Stilliguamish deltas.

During the hunting season, fewer Snow Geese are in these areas, due to hunters in the farm fields. During this time, there usually are many flocks of swans in the area. The easiest way to tell the difference is the length of the neck and color. Swans have longer necks, and snow geese have black wing-tips.

copyright Karen Ulvestad

The birds in the photo above Snow Geese. These birds fly in flocks of a few individuals to several hundred. Later in the season (March – April), they gather by the thousands as they prepare for the long migation back to Wrangle Island in Russia. Annually, about 60,000 to 70,000 Snow Geese winter in the area.

Stanwood holds an annual festival celebrating the Snow Geese. It’s called the Port Susan Snow Goose Festival. This year, the dates are Febraury 25 and 26, 2017. I will be speaking on Sunday morning with a following field trip (optional). It is free!

I’ll leave you with one more photo. . .

Happy Shooting. . .Karen

“The Art of Photographing Birds” Feb 26, 2017 at 11 am – 12:30 pm, Registration Required

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