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March 6th, 2011 Squaw Migration - Part 2

Always nice when you make a trip that's worthy of 2 pages lol. Light got better and better during this day, which is always nice, as the photo ops tend to get better as well. Walked out onto a little dock to shoot some images of a smaller group of geese that were front-lit by the evening sun.



And of course, the harsh backlit scene on the other side.



2-image stitch, just about sunset now (when the gates close) and getting ready to leave the refuge. No doubt a lot of those geese were doing the same, going out for evening feeding.



And of course just as we're about to leave, the eagles start doing cool things lol. Guess this one wasn't hungry for goose and opted for some fishing instead. Pretty heavily cropped in, sorry about the quality loss.



Got it. You can see the fish in his talon.



Sitting on a muskrat mound to eat his dinner. Loads of the geese leaving now.



Took a different route as we left the refuge and ran across a couple deer on our way out. Luckily we didn't run INTO them lol.



A bit further along this highway, we came across a sweet abandoned (or so we thought) house. Looked pretty run-down based on the exterior, but upon entering it looked more like a failed restoration. A few cut boards laying around and walls torn out, but nothing to really indicate that the renovation was in-progress. Chris and I start to get a sinking feeling that we should leave, and of course as we decide to, a luxury vehicle pulls up in the front yard and parks right next to ours. Great. Started picturing a couple of mobsters getting out with guns ready to kick our ass lol. We tried to stay cool though, and exited the house through the back entrance so it wouldn't be as apparent that we had been "snooping around" inside.

As we got to the front, one of the guys said "Didn't you see the purple?" Chris and I looked at each other pretty confused, as we had no idea what he was talking about. Apparently in the state of Missouri (and several other states in the Midwest) marking anything with purple indicates "no trespassing." This guy apparently decided to mark his by placing an old purple-ish rusted real-estate sign in the brush outside. Like yeah, real visible there dude lol. Completely faded too, so I assumed it was just a relic of the past. They weren't too mean about it though, they just said we had to leave. Didn't try to confiscate our images or anything. Guess if I was renovating a property I wouldn't want people checking it out either. But I'd also mark it more clearly lol.

Oh well, at least I got one usable image out of the ordeal. Maybe I can track the guy down and sell a pre-renovated photo to the owner.




Already had a great day shooting a record number of birds, and as we're about ready to leave Mound City, we run across something that in itself would have just about made the trip worth it. Just massive numbers of red-winged blackbirds streaming across the fields just west of town. Check out the bird vortex on the left.



Just a constant stream of birds like this for probably a solid hour.



Had some pretty wicked groups of them going in the sky two. Big clouds of birds, which would whip around and change formation rapidly.



Ran over to get under the stream of birds so I could shoot them silhouetted with the sunset. Pretty surreal scene, especially when you factor in the sound of a million flapping wings against the silence of the sunset.



This image probably explains why Chris ended up with a couple of spots of bird crap on his coat and I ended up with zero. He was standing right under that stream of birds for much longer than I was.



Just a constant stream, going from the fields and then right over the road. Which, you would think, would spell trouble for drivers and a fair number of birds. But nope, every time a car approached, the stream would whip up into the air into an arch above the car. Wish I had video of this, but this still almost does it justice.




Finally got smart and shot some video of this cool event. Seems like half the time you witness something amazing and just never think to do so. I've got a fair amount of geese video from this day as well, which I'll edit and add to the video section (and maybe here too) later. Until then though, I'll leave you with the video of the Red-Winged Blackbird migration since that one has already been made.











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