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Getting goosed

Capturing Flora & Fauna - Inside the Fog

You know what's worse than getting goosed? Getting goosed after you got up at o'dark thirty (in this case 4:30 am) to drive over to the wildlife refuge to witness the mass fly-off of the 40,000 Aleutian (Cackling Geese) that winter there. At least it used to be 40,000 geese, it's more like 10,000 these days. Not because there's any thing wrong with the population, but because the geese have discovered other rich grassy lands throughout the county and now it's more like a 10,000 goose fly-off down at the Humboldt Bay Wildlife Refuge.

When you're anticipating 40,000 geese and it gets down played to 10,000 geese, maybe deep in your heart you experience a minor twinge of disappointment. If it's something you've never witnessed before, how would you know the difference between 10,000 and 40,000, anyway? Right? Right! 10,000 geese sounds good to me.

However, if you were expecting 40,000 to start, then 10,000 and you ended up seeing, oh, for the sake of argument, let's estimate on the high side of things, maybe 100 or so, you just might feel a little tiny bit letdown. I do know the difference between 100 and 10,000 and that's 9,900 geese that, what, slept late?

But then, you're at a wildlife refuge in the early morning and one thing I know about nature is, it does NOT disappoint.

short-eared owl hunting for breakfast

short-eared owl profile

So, although this may have been the least spectacular of many a fly-off event, it was well worth getting up early to watch this *Barn Owl hunt for breakfast!

*Corrected per Jeanne, Don and Kathy (bird watchers extraordinaire!)