Friday, May 24, 2024
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The Thunder of Greater White-Fronted Geese

I swear I started off with the intention of having a truly Wordless Wednesday, but I just had to relay a New Year’s birding story to give additional life to a few of the photos.  Like many birding events, it begins with the one, or two, that got away.  More specifically, in this particular case it started with the question, “Why did the American bittern cross the road?” Well, I can only imagine it had something to do with eluding any and all observations.

But as I scanned the thicket hoping the bittern simply relocated to appear more photogenic (which was not the case), my eyes went tree-ward and met a red-tailed hawk 30 feet away.  I knew he was ready to leap, I knew I was ready to capture the moment; I didn’t know my lens cap was still on.  But, it turns out the two that got away were mere lures; birding connect the dots if you will, that led to the thousands that most certainly did not escape.

I followed a barely used dirt road which quickly ended at the edge of a seasonal pond.  Looking over the semi-still waters, I completely miscalculated the number of Greater White-Fronted Geese making use of this winter habitat.  It only took one to get the thunder rolling.  The flap of wings thundered over the landscape, vibrated the ground, and the pulse of the well-orchestrated lift off shook my body.  What I needed was a video camera, what I had was a camera, and what I walked away with was yet another vibrant, sensory-filled example of the incredible nature of birds. Now, on with Wordless Wednesday and a New Year’s Eve adventure at the Cosumnes River Preserve.


Scott Artis
Scott serves as Director of Development & Communications for Audubon Canyon Ranch (focusing on preservation, education and conservation science) and has almost fifteen years of experience spanning for-profit and nonprofit sectors in biotech, wildlife conservation and management, communications, and philanthropy. In addition to a strong track record in organizational growth and leadership, he is the founder of Urban Bird Foundation and Burrowing Owl Conservation Network, and presided over ECHO Fund, a coastal protection and restoration organization, as President for four years. Scott holds an M.A. in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Sustainable Development and Policy, degrees in Micro & Molecular Biology and Environmental Sciences, and has complemented his studies with a Master's certificate in Environmental Resource Management.



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