FAIRBANKS - Never mind all that snow still on the ground; it’s officially spring in Fairbanks.
The first geese of the year were reported on the freshly plowed fields at Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge on Wednesday morning, the harbinger of all things spring in Alaska’s second-largest city.
Three Canada geese were spotted in the middle of the front viewing field, parts of which were cleared of snow just the day before. They were spotted at approximately 10 a.m., according to refuge biologist Laurie Boeck from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. She credited wildlife biologist Jason Caikoski for being the first person to spot them.
Unfortunately, with no grain spread on the fields yet for them to feed on, the birds took off, although Steve Kakaruk managed to snap a photo before they left.
The April 3 arrival is the second-earliest on record at Creamer’s Field, according to ADFG statistics dating back to 1976. The earliest official arrival on record at Creamer’s Field is April 2 in 2010, though there was an unofficial sighting on March 29 that same year.
The average date of first arrival for geese at Creamer’s Field is April 12.
The three geese arrived exactly a week after the first geese of the season were reported on Clearwater Lake in Delta Junction. A flock of seven geese landed on the still-mostly-frozen lake on March 27.
The east field at Creamer’s Field was plowed on Tuesday in anticipation of the birds’ arrival, as it is every year.
But the three birds, as well as any others that might show up in the next couple days, will have to go hungry until Saturday. That’s when the Boreal Kiwanis is scheduled to spread two tons of Delta barely on the fields for geese and other arriving waterfowl to feed on.
Contact staff writer Tim Mowry at 459-7587.
Here are the first arrival dates for geese reported at Creamer’s Field for the last 10 years. According to statistics dating back to 1976, the average date of arrival prior to this year was April 12.