Monday, March 5, 2012
Saturday Was a Snow Day!
Despite temperatures in the 50s last Saturday, it was a snow day for sure. That was when I saw my first sight of the year of migrating Snow Geese flying over Lower New York Bay.
The spectacle took place late in the day, around 4pm. I was finishing up some early season gardening outside when up above I started to hear the honking of migrating Snow Geese near Sandy Hook Bay. Looking up I saw white geese with black-tipped wings. I counted at least 100 or so in two distinct flocks. Their "howk-howk" call was unmistakable.
Another sign from Mother Nature that spring is on its way. All life is beginning to stir for the need to breed is getting stronger every day.
The geese were heading north to breeding grounds in the Arctic tundra. Typically, the geese will fly at heights between 750 and 3500 feet, at speeds around 50 miles per hours. Depending on where they departed, it will take 10 to 12 weeks for the geese to reach the nesting sites in far northern Canada. Along the way, a flock will meet many other flocks returning from additional wintering sites to create one huge flock of Snow Geese. The birds will stop to feed whenever possible.
Over the next several weeks, as daylight and temperatures increase, look up when you see a large flock of migrating birds. A few of those flocks might be Snow Geese, flying high above one of the most urban landscapes in the world.