What's New at River Run?
September 2010 Issue.
Fall is now upon us here at River Run Cottages Bed and Breakfast, school is back in, the kids are off to University, and now iss the time to stop and watch for the return of the Snowbirds to Ladner, the Vancouver area and Reifel Bird Sanctuary.
The Lesser Snow Goose migrates 400 km from Wrangel Island off the coast of Siberia wintering in Westham Island (Ladner) and some going to southern California.
Upwards to 20,000 stop to feed on the farmer's fields in our area.
Our Snow Geese start arriving at the Sanctuary in early October and are often referred to as the "Fraser-Skagit” flock or subpopulation, as they move back and forth between the estuaries of the Fraser and Skagit Rivers. The Sanctuary marking the center of the Fraser River estuary.
During their stay here, favourite natural foods for these birds are the intertidal marsh plants of the estuary. Marsh plants such as bulrush (Scirpus americanus) store starch reserves in their roots and rhizomes. The geese dig up these food sources using their strong bills. The soils in the Delta area are rich in iron compounds, and stain the head feathers of the geese orange when they have been digging in the marsh. In the spring, the green growth of pastures and marsh plants such as sedge (Carex lyngbeyi) are popular foods.
Agricultural crops are also eaten, although most are harvested by farmers before the snow geese arrive. Leftover potatoes often remain in the fields, and the geese dig these up. Local farmers all participate in a program called “Greenfields” which coordinates the fall planting of green growing grass cover for these geese, other wildlife and soil enrichment through the Delta Farmland and Wildlife Trust.
The snow geese provide spectacular wildlife viewing for our visitors. They form very large dense flocks which feed, rest and fly over the Sanctuary, neighbouring farmland and nearby Fraser marshes every day. They are restless and constantly moving when Bald Eagles, people and dogs are nearby. Within the flocks, visitors can often identify family groups. The young born that year are fully grown before they migrate to this area, but their first set of adult feathers is grey, not white.
Small groups containing two white birds and several darker birds are likely family groups. The snow geese regularly sleep on the water in large dense flocks, sometimes out in the marshes of the estuary, and sometimes in the quiet river channels around the Sanctuary.
Book a two night or more visit and stay during the midweek between the 1st of September and the 31st of October and we will offer a 10% discount .
All you have to do is email us at River Run and mention that you are here to see the Snow Geese.
We wish you all good health and look forward to your next visit.
Will and Barb