On Sunday morning I was at the Dead Creek goose viewing area before dawn, which was entirely devoid of birds save for a lone raven croaking from a tree. But as the sun rose I was privileged to witness a massive flight of Snow Geese as they flew up from the creek to the fields, circling for several minutes before landing in the field in front of us. The cacophony of what I estimated to be 1800 geese was deafening and thrilling.
Fortunately for those of us standing on the road, the geese settled down right up close to the fence, where we had great views of their behavior, standing around, feeding, walking, honking, and doing various goosey things. One of my goals for the morning was to find a Ross's Goose, so I carefully scanned the enormous white haystack for a slightly smaller and shorter-billed needle (which I found!), during which I came across a Snow Goose with a numbered neck band. I reported the band number to the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, and just received a reply that my Addison County goose is a female, banded on August 12, 2013 on the South Plain of Bylot Island, Nunavut. (Of course I looked it up on a map; it's off the north coast of Baffin island.)
It's no news that Snow Geese nest in the arctic, but seeing the pinpointed location for this particular goose somehow makes it more vivid, and I can just picture this goose settling on her nest across the bay from Greenland, year after year, and then making the long journey to the southern U.S. coast, stopping by our little state to fuel up. It's something to remind myself if I ever find myself getting blasé about just another migrating goose.