There are probably as many reasons people visit Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge as there are visitors. Perhaps even more, since I go there for several different reasons. But the main reason I keep going back is the tremendous number of birds you see there, particularly Snow Geese and Ross Geese.
In fact, I was quite disappointed that there was no Snow Geese to be seen when we visited in January and on our first stop on our recent trip. In fact, I’d resigned myself that we’d missed them this year, that with recent changes in weather that they’d already started their northern migration.
So I was delighted when we saw a large flock of them in the distance as we approached the refuge on our way home.
By the time we’d actually reached the refuge they covered the pond like new fallen snow.
When I talk to fellow visitors at wildlife refuges I often tell them that I consider myself a wildlife photographer more than a serious birder. But the joy I take in seeing the Snow Geese suggests something quite different. In fact, I find it nearly impossible to take a good photograph of these birds. I suspect only movies would offer any hope of capturing their beauty.
There are so many that it’s nearly impossible to compose a picture. I used to tell my Yearbook photographers to try to avoid shots where you have to cut people up to get a decent shot, but that’s almost invariably the kind of shot I get when I shoot these flocks.
No, I don’t come here to photograph the Snow Geese, even if I keep trying to capture what I feel in still shots. No, I come here because it makes me feel alive. This is one of those sacred places where you can feel the earth’s pulse.