The sun came out yesterday, which can be a rare event during February around here. I took the opportunity to visit Cranberry Lake in Deception Pass State Park. I spotted some of the park residents also taking advantage of the sunshine. Even though it was still chilly, these Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) were obviously having a good time bathing, splashing and socializing.
Altogether, there were thirteen birds in the group. I am not sure if these are year-around residents, or migratory birds spending winter in the park. We have seen family groups here before.
Canada Geese have become unwelcome pests in some locales. They often find city parks and golf courses to their liking which leads to conflicts with humans. They can also be a threat to aviation. On Vancouver Island in Canada, wildlife biologists are concerned that their increasing numbers are damaging the natural habitat and threatening other wildlife.
Locally, I am not aware that the geese are considered a problem. I rather enjoy my encounters with them. At home, migratory birds often stop by on the beach during September and October. A small stream flowing into the bay provides them a drink of fresh water and an algae snack. On warm afternoons, they might pause awhile for a nap with heads tucked under wings. I actually look forward to their visits every fall.
Meanwhile, further out in the lake, I spotted a small group of wintering Ring-necked Ducks (Aythya collaris) paddling and diving. I mention this only because this was a first sighting for me: