Friday, May 16, 2014

Greater White-fronted and Snow Geese at Fort Boise

Each year from late February through March there is a massive migration of Snow, Ross’s, and Greater White-fronted Geese through southwest Idaho. They can be found in high numbers sporadically through much of the state, but the most reliable place to find high numbers is along the Idaho-Oregon border near Fort Boise WMA. It’s a fantastic spectacle that’s hard to miss each year. We try to make it each year, and posted about our trip last year as well

This year’s trip coincided with a streak of gloomy weather, which made for pretty difficult photography conditions. We started our trip driving through some farm roads south of Boise, and enjoyed a few nice birds along the way, like this Northern Harrier, a large flock of California Gulls, and one of our first Western Meadowlarks of the year.

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Northern Harrier on South Cole Road, Ada County. March 3, 2014.

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California Gulls near Kuna Mora Road, Ada County. March 3, 2014.

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Western Meadowlark near Kuna Mora Road, Ada County. March 3, 2014.

We swung past Lake Lowell on our way as well, hoping to see a Long-tailed Duck that a few others had found near the dam. The bird was reported to quite distant, and with the poor lighting it was hard to be sure whether or not it was still there, but we didn’t see anything definitive. We enjoyed a few things closer to the dam though, like this Pied-billed Grebe and Common Merganser.

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Pied-billed Grebe at Lake Lowell, Canyon County. March 3, 2014.

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Common Merganser at Lake Lowell, Canyon County. March 3, 2014.

Closer to Fort Boise, we started seeing the skies fill with geese.

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Mixed geese near Fort Boise, Canyon County. March 3, 2014.

Most years, the Snow Geese greatly outnumber the Greater White-fronted Geese (though there are huge numbers of both), but for most of this trip we actually saw more Greater White-fronted Geese.

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Greater White-fronted Geese near Fort Boise, Canyon County. March 3, 2014.

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Greater White-fronted Geese and Snow Goose near Fort Boise, Canyon County. March 3, 2014.

We had a hard time at first finding any large groups on the ground, they were mostly just on the move, but we did find a few patches here and there.

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Greater White-fronted Goose near Fort Boise, Canyon County. March 3, 2014.

At one stop we had several Wild Turkeys hanging out near the geese as well.

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Wild Turkeys near Fort Boise, Canyon County. March 3, 2014.

On the way home, we finally found a larger group on the ground rather than just cruising by overhead on some farmland southeast of Parma. This group was mostly Snow Geese.

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Mixed geese near Parma, Canyon County. March 3, 2014.

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Mixed geese near Parma, Canyon County. March 3, 2014.

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