All Other Signs of Spring

Date: 03/26/2013


Today the dam broke and Greater Snow Geese flooded through the St. Lawrence River Valley. Most seemed to pass through along the Ontario side of the river but some headed downriver on the American side as well. All were coming from the west roughly following Hwy 401 although some were over the river itself. The flight likely began before 8:30 and by 11:00 Hans and I had counted about 15,000 from a couple of positions east of Summerstown (15 minutes east of Cornwall). Continuing east past Lancaster we headed to Westney Point where birds congregate early in the migration. It seemed that virtually all had descended onto the river and remained on ice floes in the middle of the river, about a kilometre from shore. You could watch them with binoculars but a scope was important today. We watched additional flocks of hundreds to 1200 bolster the numbers and virtually all descended to the river, halting the migration. We did not see any birds on the river further down to the Quebec border nor any birds on the river before this.

On the way back to Cornwall in the afternoon, along the river east of Summerstown, we added thousands more, coming through in non-stop flocks of dozens to hundreds and waves of up to 2000. By the end of the count at 3:00 we had over 50,000 for the day. At one point at this location, while watching a Bald Eagle, we spotted a juvenile Golden high overhead. The bird hung around for about 5 minutes then I watched it pull in its wings and barrel towards an oncoming flock of Snow Geese. The birds broke formation and scattered into a milling ball, this at an elevation of probably 1000 feet. There was no sign that the eagle connected with a goose. Early in the day the geese were flying

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Lancaster, ON

Latitude: 45.1 Longitude: -74.5

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