Tag Archives: snow geese

Wild Wings

Long distance fliers from the north spend much of the winter at Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge and Washita NWR in western Oklahoma.
Snow geese prepare to land on a wheat field in Washita NWR on 12-18-2013.
Snow geese prepare to land on a wheat field in Washita NWR on 12-18-2013.
These are all snow geese, but the one on the right is a  juvenile, blue morph. Photo made at Washita NWR on 1-2-2014.
These are all snow geese, but the one on the right is a juvenile, blue morph. Photo made at Washita NWR on 1-2-2014.
The two birds at the top are adult, blue morph snow geese.
The two birds at the top are adult, blue morph snow geese. Until recently the blue morph variant of snow goose was considered to be a separate species known as blue goose.

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A large flock of snow geese shown rising from a wheat field.
A large flock of snow geese shown rising from a wheat field.

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Thousands of snow geese take wing after feeding on a wheat field at Washita NWR. It is not uncommon for 50 or 60 thousand of them to be on the refuge at one time.
Thousands of snow geese take wing after feeding on a wheat field at Washita NWR. It is not uncommon for 50 or 60 thousand of them to be on the refuge at one time.
This and the remainder of the images in this post were made at Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge. This photo of snow geese, made just after sunrise on 1-13-2014 shows motion blur in the wing-tips due to the relatively slow shutter speed of 1/250 sec.
This and the remainder of the images in this post were made at Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge. This photo of snow geese, made just after sunrise on 1-13-2014, shows motion blur in the wing-tips due to the relatively slow shutter speed of 1/250 sec.
The warm color in this and the preceding and following images is a result of early morning light.
The warm color in this and the preceding and following images is a result of early morning light.
These are white-fronted geese. They are named for a small white area on the front of the head.
These are greater white-fronted geese. They are named for a small white area on the front of the head.
This photo shows Canada geese, sometimes incorrectly called Canadian geese, in the foreground and snow geese in the background.
This photo shows Canada geese, sometimes incorrectly called Canadian geese, in the foreground and snow geese in the background.
These ducks are male common mergansers. The females have brown heads.
These ducks are male common mergansers. The females have brown heads.
Sandhill cranes are very large birds, much larger than geese. During migration they can fly over 8,000 feet high  with their 6.5 foot wing span.
Sandhill cranes are very large birds, much larger than geese. During migration they can fly over 8,000 feet high with their 6.5 foot wing span.
Sandhill cranes fly in front of the moon at 8:42 in the morning of !-20-2014. This image is not photoshopped by combining two images. The large size of the moon is a result of using a long telephoto lens.
Sandhill cranes fly in front of the moon at 8:42 in the morning of 1-20-2014. This image is not photoshopped by combining two images. The large size of the moon is a result of using a long telephoto lens.
These are white-fronted geese, with the exception of the second from the top, which is a Canada goose.
These are greater white-fronted geese, with the exception of the second from the top, which is a Canada goose.

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January In Bosque del Apache

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in south-central New Mexico near Socorro is the winter home to many thousands of migratory birds including ducks, geese, and sandhill cranes.  These photos were made the 20th and 21st of January, 2012.

Snow Geese
Snow geese by the thousands overwinter on the refuge.
Snow Geese Feeding In The Shallow Water Of The Refuge
Snow geese feeding in one of the refuge marshes.
Snow Geese
The darker goose in upper right is a variant called a blue goose.
Snow geese are strong fliers capable of flying great distances non-stop.
Snow geese are strong fliers capable of flying great distances non-stop.

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Snow geese are one of the most abundant waterfowl species in North America.

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Snow geese stay with the same mate for life.
Snow geese stay with the same mate for life.
Northern Pintail Ducks
Northern Pintail Ducks, three males and a female.
Northern pintails are called dabblers because they tip tail-up to feed in shallow water.
Northern pintails are called dabblers because they tip tail-up to feed in shallow water.
The female in center does not have the distinctive markings and long pointed tail characteristic of the male.
The female in center does not have the distinctive markings and long pointed tail characteristic of the male.
Sandhill cranes approaching one of the grain fields on the refuge.
Sandhill cranes approaching one of the grain fields on the refuge.

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They spend most of the daylight hours feeding in the grain fields and marshes of the refuge.
They spend most of the daylight hours feeding in the grain fields and marshes of the refuge.
Sometimes confused with great blue herons, sandhill cranes are much larger. They stand four feet tall and have a wingspan of about six and a half feet.
Sometimes confused with great blue herons, sandhill cranes are much larger. They stand four feet tall and have a wingspan of about six and a half feet. They fly with necks outstretched while herons fly with necks curved.
Sandhill cranes have a red patch on their heads similar to the endangered whooping crane which are white and even larger than the sandhill.
Sandhill cranes have a red patch on their heads similar to the endangered whooping cranes, which are white and even larger than the sandhill.
Sandhill cranes usually fly in large flocks and it is not unusual for them to gather in the thousands on feeding grounds.
Sandhill cranes usually fly in large flocks and it is not unusual for them to gather in the thousands on feeding grounds.

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Bosque Sunset
Bosque Sunset

To see another set of photos from Bosque del Apache, enter “Bosque del Apache” in the search box above and scroll down.

All images on this site are Copyright © Larry D. Brown and may not be used in any form without permission.

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico

Boscue del Apache NWR is located in south-central New Mexico, near Socorro. Many thousands of waterfowl and wading birds, including snow geese, a variety of ducks and sandhill cranes spend the winter here. It is also a popular winter destination for bird watchers and wildlife photographers, including myself. These photos were made the 29th and 30th of January, 2006, on my third visit to the refuge and the first using a digital SLR camera instead of a film SLR.

IMGP2486Snow geese at sunrise

IMGP2499Snow geese with sandhill cranes in background at sunrise

IMGP2606The sandhill crane is a very large wading bird standing almost 4 feet tall, however its near relative, the endangered whooping crane is about 10 inches taller.

IMGP2554The sandhill crane’s wingspan is about six and one-half feet.

IMGP2590Cranes are sometimes confused with the much smaller herons which fly with their neck curved instead of straight.

IMGP2335Cranes feed in marshes and grain fields and eat mostly grains and seeds. They are omnivorous however, and will eat insects, other invertebrates and small vertebrates.

IMGP2579Sandhill cranes migrate south in family groups consisting of mated pairs and their offspring.

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IMGP2279Sandhill cranes can live up to 20 years.

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IMGP2519This should qualify as a gaggle of snow geese.

IMGP2430Geese sometimes fly in organized formations such as this.

IMGP2528Preparing for take-off.

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IMGP2380Male Northern Shoveler Duck

IMGP2374The large bill of this duck has comb-like projections along the edges to strain food from the water.

IMGP2272Male Pintail Ducks

IMGP2479Sandhill cranes, snow geese and ducks at sunset on the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.

All images on this site are © Copyrighted by Larry D. Brown and may not be reproduced in any manner without permission.