Tuesday, March 29, 2011


The Skagit Valley is winter habitat to thousands of snow geese and trumpeter swans. They arrive in the fall and feed in the wetlands and agricultural fields until early spring. Large flocks can be seen from the highway and, on side roads, it is not difficult to get close to the birds.

The numbers are truly spectacular.  During the summer, at the cabin in Alaska, we would see pairs of trumpeter swans, sometimes a dozen or so, and it seemed rare and precious and wild.  They'd fly by, honking, with a backdrop of craggy mountains and glaciers or float on the lake, coupled up, shy and evasive, and one would feel lucky to get a close look. I didn't know that, come winter, thousands of drivers on Interstate 5 would be looking at the very same birds.

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