The Stragglers

They arrived in the night and I heard the commotion outside the window but didn’t need to look out – I knew what was happening. In the early morning my suspicions were indeed confirmed as I stood with my cup of tea, looking out the window…they were stragglers rushing south a little late, with a cold wind behind them urging them on.

A brilliant red dawn light brought their shapes into focus on the pond.

Rising sun

Ivy could hardly believe her eyes as the sun rose and she watched them rest for the next leg of their southbound flight. Why had they waited this long?

Ivy watching

They took turns resting while some patrolled the perimeter on guard for that coyote hoping for a big meal before the freeze sets in.

Better resting geese

They built up their strength all day and as the light began to fade they started to move out into the water and form little groups.

Better geese getting ready

As the snow started to fall the calls went up from the leaders, who beat their wings to inspire the troops to get off the ground and be safe from night predators…then so unlikely because of their weighty bodies they started to rise with such majestic grace.

Geese rising


Geese in flight

They circled once over our house, calling encouragement to each other and then with their V-formation pointed south, they were gone.

Geese above

They were just in time since the very next day the pond looked like this…

One day later

Hurry back because that will mean that it’s spring again!

This entry was posted in Environment, Life, Photography, Puzzles and Contradictions, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Winter and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

54 Responses to The Stragglers

  1. Aquileana says:

    Oustanding photographs…. Best wishes! Aquileana ⭐

  2. Great photos … love the one with the pooch and the red dawn. 🙂

  3. I agree with one of your other commenters, what a wonderful view you have and it’s the ideal spot to watch the birds. St. Simons Island is on the east coast flyway for migrating birds, so this time of year we get a few northern breeds that we don’t usually see. I particularly like the hooded mergansers. They’re wary birds so you really have to keep quiet and sneak up on them, but they’re lovely to watch. ~James

  4. mommermom says:

    This was such a lovely story. Thank you! Love the pictures too!

  5. emmylgant says:

    Wonderful. A pleasure to read and your photos brought home the magic of the moment.
    I look forward to the next post.

  6. Nancy says:

    You have a fabulous view! Thank You for taking your photos through out the day. Glad they moved out when they could. I am glad to be back at blogging again. I was gone for a spell.

  7. aussiebirder says:

    Wonderful pics, what a privileged to be able to document the birds leaving from your window!

  8. gpcox says:

    It’s amazing how Nature knows all and everything in balance. You did a fantastic job, Carol, of following them throughout the day as they prepared for their yearly trek.

  9. Gallivanta says:

    I join you and Ivy in your fascination with the activity outside the window. Wonderful!

  10. restlessjo says:

    Quite incredible, isn’t it? 🙂

  11. hermitsdoor says:

    There is golf-course in the South that awaits their arrival.

    • I know they are considered pests by some but we have taken up almost all their spaces. I hope they find happy landings.

      • hermitsdoor says:

        Habitat distruction is certainly a factor in the wildlife-human mix these days. However, a number of species are adapting well to urban-suburban-xurban developments. Squirrels, racoons, deer, coyotes, and Canada geese are among those doing well in our backyards. By some estimations, the East Coast of the USA has MORE forest land and MORE white tail deer now than during the colonial era, when settlers killed and ate up just about all that they could find. The pond, which appeared to be outside the window of your home, is a good stop over place for nature. Share the space.

  12. pommepal says:

    What an interesting set of photos Carol showing the mystery of nature. They almost missed their flight by one day. It looks cold in your part of the world I think I would be following those geese to warmer climes… 🙂

    • Yes many retirees here go south for the winter – we call them ‘snowbirds’. The cold does get tougher as we get older but we hope to be away for a few weeks at least. Thanks for the virtual visit – at least you can stay warm while you do it!

  13. By the way, we live on the 5th floor of a beachside apartment. When you look out your window and see a bunch of Pelicans flying by in V formation, they look something like an Airbus 🙂

  14. How fascinating. Living in a temperate climate, I am not so aware of bird migration – although it must take place. But you reminded me of all the Canadian geese I noted on my recent trip to Europe. Given it was autumn, I guess they must have been getting ready to move on.

  15. quilt32 says:

    These are spectacular pictures. Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience.

  16. icelandpenny says:

    So moving, thanks for this.

  17. agnesashe says:

    Lovely uplifting post for the onset of winter. Amazing bird migrations remind us so clearly of nature’s cycles of change and renewal. Looks like Ivy is still very much in touch with her breed roots too – would she plunge into the water given half a chance???

  18. I enjoyed your post the way you told the full story.
    With a few well chosen words and great pictures.
    What amazing birds, perfect timing.

  19. margaret21 says:

    Wonderful post. I thought we were fortunate to have lakes nearby, but you certainly have a ringside view. Thanks for this fascinating picture-story, and especially its astonishing next-day conclusion. Those birds knew a thing or two.

    • Thank you. It’s not a very big pond but there does seem to be a fair bit of action out there. We too have very recently moved to be close to our grandchildren and find ourselves on the edge of ‘lake country’!

  20. Sue Slaght says:

    These are such great photos. Last year in Calgary there were geese that stayed very late when there was so much snow. Looks like your migrators left just in time!

    • Yes and I don’t think we’ll see any more here with no open water to land on. The weather has been a little unpredictable for the last couple of years so I don’t want to be too hard on the geese though!

  21. Loved the post. Living on Lake Huron we see thousands rest and refuel here before the next leg of their journey but I’ve never been able to capture their arrival, rest and departure. Obviously you are enjoying your new home. Congrats!

  22. Lavinia Ross says:

    Beautiful progression of photos, Carol! We’re not far from Foster Lake here, and often get small groups of geese going overhead. Cold rain at this time, and the grass is still green. It’s been an unusual autumn. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for January.

    Ivy looks like she has quite the view out that window!

    • Thank you – I have been fascinated with watching the geese and was a little afraid it would be dull so I’m very glad you enjoyed it. Strange weather all around I think, no wonder the geese were a bit confused. Yes Ivy loves that view!

  23. Sheryl says:

    Lovely. . . the pictures and descriptions are wonderful. I’ve often seen geese flying south–but until I read this post I never realized that much of their flight takes place during the night.

  24. Mike says:

    It is remarkable that with all that wet weight they can lift off at all.

  25. vsperry says:

    Thanks for taking pictures throughout the day, it was cool to see how the progression went from resting to action…not to mention how close they were to not being able to swim at all!

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