I have a photo I love–it’s a “hundreds-of-geese-in-it” photo which was taken at Lake Alice in Fergus Falls in the summer of 2010. (The photos currently on this post are from there as well…)
Grant often visited Lake Alice during his young years, in the late 1940’s, especially to enjoy the skating rink during the winter. The old warming house is still there at one corner and the lake is still surrounded by the beautiful old multi-story homes that have been there for 100 years and more.
It’s a gathering place for thousands of birds of many kinds over the summer months. It’s been fun trying to “catch the geese planning their fall getaway” each year.
As the weather gets colder each fall, the intensified “group goose activity” is apparent all over this area, particularly so at Lake Alice. Suddenly it is almost totally covered with geese, floating almost wingtip to wingtip, and occasionally taking off in groups of 50-250 for a flyaround. Then they come back and land, floating wingtip to wingtip some more.
At some invisible point, after all the proper meetings have been held, after the Goose-Cases (that’s like suitcases, but for Geese) are packed, after the final arguments have been held about the best route through the South Dakota flyway~~finally The Day Has Arrived.
The Day They Will Leave is a very specific day.
One time, one time only, I happened to be there The Day They Left. I was fortunate to be sitting in the car at the south end of the lake as they took off in flights of 200-500 in a group, flying directly over me, less than 20 feet off as they crossed over: the noise of the honking, the flapping, the swishing, the splashing was absolutely sweet and overwhelming.
These birds obviously either knew where exactly where they were going or were flying right next to some goose that did.
It’s amazing to watch the goslings that swam in a long line behind Mom and Dad during early summer now ready to fly south.
I try every year to Catch The Great Flyaway.