This lone goose flying low is one of my favorite images from the day at Middle Creek.
I didn't realize until I was reviewing the day's shoot that I had photographed a goose wearing a neck collar
Cropping in tight allows one to read the identifying number. These collars are used by researchers as a means to identify individual birds from a distance.
Wildlife managers are concerned that an overabundance of snow geese will harm their Arctic breeding grounds and possibly the aquatic vegetation of their wintering areas, the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic coastal marshes. In light of this concern spring hunting seasons with liberal bag limits allow hunting along their spring migration route. During our Middle Creek visit shotguns could be heard firing frequently nearby.
This goose, photographed at a pothole near the visitor center shows signs of injury, note the blood stains on its uplifted wing. A trend I noticed was that a goose sighted alone typically showed signs of injury.
We located this goose standing along the roadside appearing disoriented. When I stepped from the car it immediately took flight. Bloodied from a shotgun blast the bird was taking no further chances with humans. With thousands of miles yet to fly birds like these last two have little chance of survival. They will most likely either die of their injuries or fall prey to predators.