Web photo of Canadian Geese
US route 26 runs across Wyoming and into Nebraska, where it follows for many miles the course of the North Platte River. All day on Saturday we drove this route easterly until it eventually brought us to Interstate 80. I have always enjoyed seeing wild geese, thrilled to hear their honking cries as they fly overhead on their migratory routes spring and fall. Never have we seen so many geese. In small groups of a dozen or so, or in flocks [gaggles!] of many hundreds, the geese foraged in the bleached stubble of corn and grain fields. In the sky overhead they wheeled and circled in ever-shifting patterns as old as time. The skiens of flying geese intersected, spread apart, mingled and separated again, each goose somehow knowing its own place in the flapping, honking throngs.
We stopped in Ogallala, Nebraska to fuel the truck and to buy hot coffee. I walked back toward the truck, styrofoam cup clutched in my hand, head raised as two more flocks of geese surged through the sky above. Near the leading wedge of geese were two flying side by side who were different. From their white plummage they were likely Snow Geese who often co-habitate with their Canadian cousins.
J. always practical, said wryly, "Do you think its wise to walk under such a flock of geese, staring upward with your mouth open?"
I conceded his point, lowered my coffee mug, but not my gaze from the spooling and weaving of the winged bodies.
Although I've had no opportunity to do any research, we think that the North Platte River provides a seasonal flyway and winter feeding area for thousands of geese before they fly farther north with the spring.
Their movement gave beauty and interest to a long day of many miles.