Birders speak of “magnets” for birds. The marshes of Dead Creek WMA are one such magnet. They sit along a major migratory route for snow geese heading south to the Chesapeake Bay area. Each autumn these geese leave their breeding grounds along the Greenland coast using northeastern waterways as their navigational aids. They follow the St. Lawrence Valley then hang a left and follow the Champlain Valley to the Hudson and the Atlantic coast. Vermont has two traditional rest-spots along this interstate in the sky — the Missiquoi NWR at the north end of Lake Champlain and Dead Creek WMA in Addison County.
Years before my wife and I made our first trip to see the Snow Geese, we did a family bike ride with our two daughters along the roads of this area. We passed impressive signs below Addison saying “Wildlife Viewing Area.” But we were confused; we saw no wildlife at all. It seems the best time to see the geese is late October.
Most adult snow geese are large and white. The immature snows are grayish. They fly in close-knit family units consisting typically of two adults and three young snows. It is unusual to see a single snow goose take off or land. They travel as a family or large groups of families.
Serious photographers view the snow geese at the crack of dawn. One can find lodging north on Route 7 in Ferrisburgh. There are numerous restaurants in tiny Vergennes, “the smallest city in the country.” We did this in a very unplanned fashion on our first trip. You can read about our adventure and see more photos HERE.
The photo below was used on the 2014 Vermont Fish and Game Calendar.
~ Jim Block