The Geese Are Overhead

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Bird Watching, Trinidad, California, U.S.A.

When I went for my morning walk today the traffic and honking were hard to ignore.

The geese are heading north along the Pacific coast!

The coastal overcast provided a neutral gray background for low-flying flocks of geese. They were very low and very loud.

I go for a short walk to start each day. We live in a redwood forest. So it is hard to see very far toward the horizon. But if you look straight up through the overhanging redwood branches in forest openings you can see the sky. I could hear the geese approaching, but could not see them until they were directly overhead. They were not very far above the top of the redwoods. Their formations were ragged as they were not very far from the marshes nearby where they probably started the day.

The sound catches you off guard when the first geese of the season fly over. It sounds like strange laughter or chattering. Robert Redford described it as a “cocktail party” in the great movie Sneakers.

I was able to photograph at a local birding festival last year, and will again this April. I had not been involved in birding since early in my college days. My assignment was to photograph the bird watchers, not so much the birds. These photographs would be used to publicize the event.

This spring bird migration festival is called Godwit Days. It is held in Arcata, California, USA. There are over 100 different field trips over several days to marshes, forests, rocky shores, and bays. To find out more about it, visit their website at: http://www.godwitdays.com/

The photo above is from Godwit Days last year. This was a shorebird field trip. The participants had great overviews of rocky shores along an easy trail. It was fun to tag along and see their enjoyment and fascination. I used a small step ladder to provide a view over their shoulder in many settings. Most bird watching photos show a front view of a group of people looking into telescopes or binoculars. But you have no idea what they are looking at. I thought it would be more interesting to stand among them and provide a view of what they were seeing also. This photo is taken from a more distant position to show more of the setting.  Photo:  1/320 s at f/6.3

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