It has begun.
This time of year, local Canada geese gather into flocks and descend upon Hartley Pond in Duluth’s Hartley Park each evening. The flights usually come from the east right up the valley of Tischer Creek, which flows out of the pond toward Woodland Avenue. If you post yourself on the dam at the pond at sunset and hang out for another half an hour, you’re likely to see several flights of a dozen geese or more come honking up the valley. As the birds make their final approach to the pond, watch for their twisting in mid-air as they dump air from beneath their wings to hasten their descent.
Some nights, when the sun is long gone from the horizon and the pond is mostly dark, you’ll lose the flight of the geese in the tree line. But you’ll know the birds have landed when you hear the whisper of their downy bellies sliding across the water in the darkness.
Hartley Park is at 3001 Woodland Avenue. To reach the pond, follow the gravel road from the Hartley Nature Center Parking lot about a quarter-mile to the west.