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IN THE WIDE OPEN spaces of the Champlain Valley, and bathed in the angled light of autumn, I suggest that you get goosed. Snow Goosed.

The white geese are passing through Vermont and New York — in migration from the eastern Arctic to wintering sites on the mid-Atlantic coast. You can track the migration and get up-to-date goose reports at my home for all your goose-viewing needs: The Snow Goose Scoop.

But please recognize that nature need not bend to our will — or desires. Even though Snow Goose numbers at sites in the Champlain Valley now range from about 2,000 to 5,000 on any given day, you might not find any of them. These animals do have wings, after all.

Here at Vermont’s prime site — Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area in Addison — the geese can sometimes drop into a wet depression in the land, and therefore become undetectable from viewing sites at the refuge, particularly the official parking area on Route 17. That’s not to say the geese won’t come close. But, as I explain in my backgrounder, Snow Geese are no longer as abundant (or cooperative) as they once were during the past 30 years or so.

But please do get outside for geese anyway. After all, particularly this fall, any day outside is better than a day inside. My pal Josh Lincoln and I didn’t see many geese this past Saturday, but we bumped into lots of other nature, including a flock of about two dozen Eastern Bluebirds, four Rusty Blackbirds, and two Vesper Sparrows. Monarchs and Painted Ladies are still migrating. We even found a late-in-the-season Bronze Copper, among my most favorite butterflies.

Beneath Josh’s bluebird and blackbird photos below, I’ve included a dorsal shot of the copper from Saturday, plus a lovely ventral shot of one from downeast Maine in June. Onward!

Eastern Bluebirds / © Josh Lincoln

Rusty Blackbird / © Josh Lincoln

Bronze Copper / © Bryan Pfeiffer

Bronze Copper / © Bryan Pfeiffer

  1. Dudley Carlson says:

    So glad to know that you’re out there birding again!!! These are wonderful, and enviable, pictures. Love the bluebirds! And your description of goose behavior is bang on. So frustrating to go where they’re supposed to be and not see them – and then discover that if you’d been higher up, or gone around a corner, you couldn’t have missed them. Definitely the season to be outdoors. Thanks!

  2. The photo of the ventral side of the copper is outstanding. The goose migration at Dead Creek surely can be spectacular, as it can also be at PA’s Middle Creek wildlife management area.

  3. Ellen Heath says:

    Thanks so much as always for the wonderful images and narrative. I wish I were up in your neck of the woods, but this beautifully compensates.

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