Tens of thousands of Snow Geese spend the winter in the Skagit Valley in Northwest Washington state. The sight and sounds of 20,000 geese taking to the air is unbelievable, and I try to make a visit each year to photograph the spectacle. When the birds are startled by an eagle or hunter–or just decide it’s time to move somewhere else–the giant flock swirls into the sky, with a honking din that echoes for miles.
On a recent outing I found a large flock of geese near Conway, Washington, and spent several hours photographing them. The photo above shows just part of the flock as the birds began to take to the sky in front of some of the lower hills near the Cascade Mountains.
Besides the Snow Geese, Trumpeter Swans also winter in the area and are another interesting bird photography subject. On my recent visit to the area I didn’t find many of the swans where I was, although I could see them flying in the distance. I took the photo below last year. On that visit I didn’t find any geese, but found a huge flock of swans. The Skagit Valley is a great place for a bird watcher or photographer to visit frequently in the winter, as you never know what you’ll find on any given day!