A little something new this year. The City of Victoriaville and the Arthabaska MRC have rented Billboard Space on Highway 20 to promote local activities including the Snow Geese Symposium. They were kind enough to choose my image for the Billboard.
Almost everyone within driving distance of Victoriaville, Quebec that’s into birding and Wildlife photography is heading out to Réservoir Beaudet for the fall migration of Snow Geese. Upwards of a hundred thousand Snow Geese can congregate in this quaint little reservoir across the road from the Lactantia Dairy Plant. From passionate birders to the mere curious, all assemble to admire these birds. They’re just about everywhere you look. On the lawn in the water and up in the sky.
The Snow Geese feed mostly in neighboring fields devouring the post harvest left overs. Later in the day the Snow Geese return to the reservoir (Réservoir Beaudet) in clouds of hundreds if not over a thousand Geese at a time. They fly in into the late evening hours joining the already large community. This is not to say that the number of geese during the day is at a minimum. There can be close to a hundred thousand geese, if not more at any time in the reservoir.
Photographers can enjoy photographing these birds all day long taking advantage of the ever changing light from dusk til dawn. The warm glow of the sunsetting sky illuminates these white feathered birds in an incredible display of warm colored tones. Moonlit pictures including those of geese flying through a full moon are a great challenge and worth scheduling a nightly visit.
Predators such as birds of prey, red fox or coyotes can set a panic at anytime and the geese can lift in a massive wave flying above the reservoir in a circular pattern, creating a tornado of geese! (SEE VIDEO BELOW) For the excited observer it’s important to remember a few simple rules.
- When looking up at Geese keep mouth closed at all times. (Geese are birds and birds poop!)
- Wait until the day after you visit the reservoir to wash your car. (Geese are birds and birds poop!)
- Wear old or easy to clean clothing. (Geese are birds and birds poop!)
- Glasses, clear and/or Sun Glasses for sunny days. (Geese are birds and birds poop!)
- When pointing camera in the air make sure lens is protected with clear or UV filter. (Geese are birds and birds poop!)
These simple yet important guidelines should provide the basic protection from bird poop. Trust me you may have to deal with a great deal of bird poop. It’s all a matter of luck. During one big panic all the geese took off. We were about seven photographers on a boat ramp. I got nothing on me. The person to my left got two or three little droppings, yet the person on my right was drenched in poop. Although I felt lucky it was a different story in the parking lot. My car was covered from bumper to bumper.
Réservoir Beaudet in Victoriaville is an easy drive from Montreal, Quebec City or Drummondville. For visitors coming in from further regions I recommend seeking out local accommodations. Spending a couple of days at the reservoir may be a wise decision if your’re driving hours in and out of the area. With gas prices being as high as they are it’s probably even cheaper in some cases to just stay the night. Weather may also vary greatly this time of year and forecasts are always a little less than accurate. There are quite a few lodging establishments in the area and I assembled a list of of them on this Google Map.