Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Wondrous Sight

The Canada geese are arriving from their Summer homes up North and this reminded us of another charming visitor. Last Winter on our way home from Chestertown, MD, we came across huge flocks of Snow Geese (Chen caerulescens). 

Unlike the ubiquitous Canada Geese, the shy Snow Geese are relatively unknown. They arrive on the Eastern Shore in fewer numbers and flock together in a small area as opposed to their cousins who call every empty field, or body of water their domicile. 

Snow Geese prefer to spend most of their time in large fields, rather than huddle in large bodies of water around the Chesapeake Bay. This particular flock numbered at least 1,000 birds, who would either settle down in a dense mass of feathered bodies or spend a good part of an hour freewheeling in the air like a dog circling and circling a likely spot on the ground before settling in for a nap.

And the result is spectacular. Sub flocks of hundreds of Snow Geese fly by in a waving grey mass. Then they suddenly change direction all at once, much like fighter planes in a dogfight and the whole mass turns into a brilliant white. One more abrupt change of direction reveals a third fascinating display of white wings with contrasting black tips.

Eventually the snow Geese fly beyond our sight leaving us to realize that we can't think of a nicer reason to live on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  “Sailboats racing on the bay, wild geese covering the horizon, a plate of steamed crabs and a wonderful sense of Colonial America … all combine to add a new dimension to our Chesapeake Lifestyle!”

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