Every winter there are thousands of Snow Geese that over-winter in the Skagit Valley, about 20 miles south of here. We have several favorite spots where we often find them, but this day we had decided to head to La Conner to see what was on the other side of the big bridge over the bay. On the way we spotted masses of white and turned down a long farm driveway (there are several farms there so we weren't on private property, just on a long gravel road to the farms. And there they were - two huge flocks - one on each side of the road.
The brown tint on their faces is from minerals in the soil, it colors those feathers a brownish color - it isn't a stain, but a permanent color given to the feathers from the minerals.
The sound by the flocks is sometimes almost deafening and when they fly up it seems every Snow Goose is honking - perhaps it is their guidance system.
We drove slowly down the gravel road and at one point, part of the flock was crossing the road.
And slowly they got to the other side - plenty of time for more photos . . .