Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Signs of Fall -- Already?

Last night I witnessed my second flight of Canada geese. In mid-August. Hmmm. Wonder what kind of fall and winter that portents? Early? Harsh? A harsh winter for the west side of the Cascades meaning one real snow event.

Using the Pacific Flyway to predict weather can be a bit tricky around here, however. Since there are numerous federal and state wildlife refuges up and down the Willamette Valley and outside Vancouver, Washington -- we have resident waterfowl populations that hang around all winter. So it's not unusual to see ducks and geese moving from one location to the other.

But the geese I've seen in the past week appeared seriously southward bound. Bit of a surprise, since we were experiencing a serious hot spell at the time.

So it makes one wonder. What do they "know" that we don't?

Note #1: It is Canada goose or geese, not Canadian. One of the things I learned after twenty-four years of working with fish and wildlife biologists.
Note #2: The above photograph is not mine (I wish). Credit to USFWS.


gowestferalwoman said...

Same thing in NW Wisconsin...the teenagers seem to be ready even to fly south, but we did have an early spring warmup (about 3 weeks ahead of schedule).

Since we are on a major riverway, we usually see the first arrivals and the last departures; this past week there has been more then usual geese heading south. Not big clusters, but smaller groups (15-25).

I always look at our horses coat for winter predictions; for some reason they have been an excellent predictor! But if I had to sleep outside too, and time my day with the sun... lol

And what did you do with those US Fish and wildlife people? Mr. Foresterman still has trumpeter swan scars from banding, doing crosswork from his dept. (Forestry) with those fish and wildlife guys...ouch, big birds!

Oregon Equestrian said...

I worked at Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife headquarters. Began in Fish Culture maintaining the central fish hatchery records. Went to Wildlife Division where I was administrative assistant. At one point I coordinated the computer drawing for limited entry hunts. Drafted and filed the administrative rules for hunting & trapping seasons. Ended up in the Habitat Division as an environmental writer. No close encounters with swans, but I did check in waterfowl hunters on opening weekend a few times.