Posts Tagged ‘canada geese’

Canada geese may be just barely visible beneath a cover of marsh mist but their morning talk is unmistakable.  Their communication is not just limited to their signature honk but to a medley of sounds as they wake to another day in another marsh.

According to Ducks Unlimited, Canada geese may be only next to humans in their talkativeness.  Greetings, warnings and contentment are all communicated from the time a gosling is still in its shell.

However, as there are some humans who like to talk more than others, there are probably some geese who are also more talkative than the rest.  I wonder if some geese put their heads underwater to get away from the nagging chatter under the pretext of finding food.

geese talking

Don't even think of flying next to her today!

Considering the amount of effort that goes into planning a trip abroad for a large group, it’s probably the communication skills of geese that allow them to be so successful in their migrations year after year. 

Geese are known to share the responsibilities of leadership, especially in flight.  Also, if a member of the flock is injured, two will stay behind to nurse it back to health, rejoining the larger flock together after it recovers.  Any of these actions would require a great deal of planning and discussion.  No wonder they’re so talkative!

Once the geese have breakfast, make their flight plans and leave, quiet returns to the marsh until the next flock arrives to spend the evening.  

For more information about these beautiful and talkative birds, see Facts on Canada Geese at Ducks Unlimited.

Read Full Post »

There’s no stop these days to sights of geese flying south.  I continue to see flocks heading out in the morning, but today’s numbers baffled the mind.  Where are all these birds coming from?  Who would have thoughts there were so many Canada geese living north of here.

Some appear to be flying in V-like formations but most seem to be in strands that look like ribbons of smoke at a distance.

Wherever they are headed, in such large numbers they are bound to have an effect on the locations where they rest for the night.  How do so many large birds find food in one spot?  Seeing so many this morning, I could only stand in awe of their numbers and wonder. 

As numerous as they are, their existence, like everything else on the planet, is fragile.  In the 1500s, Canadian explorer Jacques Cartier noted that the flocks of passenger pigeons he saw flying overhead blackened the sky.  They’re now extinct.

There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of the birds… There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and  spring after the winter.

~ Rachel Carson

 Receive by email or subscribe in a reader


Read Full Post »

sunrise november 9

The sun is just rising along the Salt Marsh Trail when the sound of geese begins to float in from the north.  They are waking up just beyond the island and preparing for flight.

geese arriving 2

Moments later, their distant honking turns into a loud roar.  What are they calling out to each other as they head out to sea?

geese overhead

Their numbers are in the thousands and it’s impossible to photograph them all in the sky.  To see so many geese flying directly overhead at dawn is an awesome experience.  The rays of dawn light up their feathers, revealing the beauty of their markings.

geese overhead 2

Their formations are like ribbons in the sky as they begin to organize themselves for their long journey south.

geese at sunrise

Within a couple of minutes, the event is over as they head out beyond the marsh to the Atlantic.  The sun is still rising beyond the horizon.

lone gooseForty minutes later, a lone goose can be heard flying around the marsh.  Its calls are distinct and clearly those of a Canada goose.  How did it possibly miss the wake up call? 

Its unanswered calls sound lonely and frantic.  Geese are known for their manner of leaving no goose behind.  How could this have happened?  Hopefully there will be more geese passing through here this week and this lone goose will be able to join the rest of its kind in their long journey south.


 Receive by email or subscribe in a reader


Read Full Post »

The path is dark as we head out towards the marsh before dawn.  A hare and porcupine share the trail ahead in the shadows. Twilight is high traffic time for nocturnal animals going home and diurnal ones just heading out for the day.

There is nothing that awakens the senses more than a spring morning’s dawn at low tide.  Shore birds are busy finding mates and breakfast.  Seagulls and Sandpipers call out to one another, announcing the discovery of crabs and other tasty morsels in shallow water.  Canada Geese and ducks are heading out early to continue their flight north.  Great Blue Herons re-acquaint themselves with the marsh after spending the winter away, while Ospreys scan the area for fish.


The sky is painted brilliant with pinks and oranges that contrast sharply with the shrinking darkness.  It lasts for but a few minutes.  And then… it’s day.

There is more day to dawn.

~ Henry David Thoreau

Receive by email or subscribe in a reader

Read Full Post »

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Just a few minutes’ drive from Flandrum Hill, the Salt Marsh Trail off Bissett Road offers a splendid opportunity to walk through a salt marsh and observe its inhabitants up close.  In the past month, I’ve seen three porcupines sleeping in an apple tree right next to the trail, hundreds of migrating Canada Geese,  a dozen Great Blue Herons standing together in the water at low tide, the largest starfish I’ve seen yet in the wild, and four (yes four) Bald Eagles at once, hunting in close proximity of each other.

The trail begins in a woodland setting and after a ten minute walk, opens up to the marsh.  The panoramic views alone, especially at sunrise, are well worth the trip. 

At this time of year, the marsh grass turns a brilliant gold which contrasts sharply with the steel grey water on overcast days.   The ebb and flow of the tides can be observed with both your eyes and ears as you walk over the wooden bridges.  The sound of your feet on the wood planks adds much to the experience.

The trail is built along an abandoned railway track and crosses the marsh with a series of bridges that allow hikers and bikers to stand right in the middle of this delicate ecosystem without disturbing it.  

The Salt Marsh Trail connects to Lawrencetown Beach via the Atlantic View Trail, and to Shearwater via the Shearwater Flyer Trail.

For all posts about the Salt Marsh Trail see:


Text and images copyright Amy-Lynn Bell

 Subscribe in a reader

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: