This is my annual re-post -- on the first weekend of waterfowl hunting season in both Washington (where I'm living now) and California (my home). I've been lightly tweaking the post each year, adding new information or links. My reason for re-posting this piece is to bring attention to some of the lesser discussed aspects of duck hunting. The most significant issue for me is the enormous injury rate in all wing shooting -- a facet rarely brought forth voluntarily, and one that's inadequately studied. I provide additional details on that subject in this post.
Smith Cove Park is populated only occasionally with dog walkers, cruise ship aficionados, marina boaters and a few transient souls who stop there by way of a nearby bike route. I went there for the waters -- and for the salt air -- without expectation of wildlife. But, that was about to change -- one late April day.
It seems like common sense ... to slow or stop the car if you see an animal on the road. But, in recent weeks, I've had several incidents where birds were clearly in harm's way and people refused to either stop or take even 30 seconds off their commute to let an animal exit the roadway.
The bluffs above South Beach at Seattle's Discovery Park are layered records of glacial history. There's Vashon Till (mixed rocks, sand and silt), Esperance Sand, Lawton Clay (a blue-grey clay and silt) and Kitsap Formation sediments.
This photo series shows the calm before the Snow Goose storm ... and the ripple effect that sends thousands of geese into the air within seconds, at just the slightest provocation. They may call out, sending audio waves through the flock before erupting into goose mayhem. Or, they may fall unexpectedly silent for a split second before bursting into winged turbulence.
The sound of flocking snow geese is sometimes described as a “cacophony,” a “symphony,” a “storm” — a “baying of hounds,” a “noise blizzard.” The sound, in fact, varies. There’s a comfortable warbling of goose grumbles and calls as the birds graze, punctuated by escalations that bubble up in sections of the flock. Then, there is the silence — a sudden, dead halt to the goose voices. It’s just a blip, a clipped hesitation, a warning.