Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Collins Pond Geese: Another look at the Snow and MORE Greenland Canadas
Another look at Saturday's Snow Goose
As posted earlier, there were alot of Canada Geese flying into Collins Pond in Caribou last Saturday. I joined a bunch of goose enthusiasts and watched from the park on the south side of the pond as the flocks arrived. Apparently, others around town were also enjoying the spectacle from their vantage points. Nadeen Plourde sent me a note saying, she too, watched the geese flocks as they flew over her house on the way from the fields to Collins Pond on that same beautiful Saturday morning. Coincidently, Nadeen even saw the lone Snow Goose in a flock and got this nice photo of the sharp looking bird as it flew by!
MORE Greenland Canada Geese at Collins Pond
On Tuesday at 5:15 PM Collins Pond was as full of geese as I have seen it this fall. Probably 2,500+ geese. I didn't have much time, but I couldn't drive by with giving the geese a quick scan!
After a couple days of rain, the clouds had lifted and the geese were stretching and getting active in late afternoon sun. The birds were muttering to each other the way they do when its getting time to get up and out of the pond and off to the field to feed. Between the warm sunshine and slowly rising tenor of the combined goose chorus, it was quite nice and I wished I had an hour to spend!
Almost immediately I spotted two Canada Geese with yellow neck collars showing well in the sun. Expecting these to be the Greenland Canada Geese found here on Saturday (GLF and GLU), I was surprised to see these birds had different codes. GBH and GBI. Two MORE Canada geese from Greenland!
I was flushed with my quick success in finding something "good" so quickly on the pond. I gave the rest of geese (which were now mostly backlit) a once-over to make sure there there were no obvious other unusual birds in the mix and then headed home.
Of course I sent off a report of my discovery to Greenland goose researchers Tony Fox and David Stroud as soon as possible and they promptly replied. GBH and GBI were indeed some more Greenland Canada Geese!
However, the code combinations I reported were used on birds banded back in 1997...AND these birds were NOT fitted with collars and had only leg bands with these codes... Hmmm.
As much as I hate to think I mis-read the codes on the collars, the only alternative hypothesis I could come up with was that the geese marked GBH and GBI, on living to a ripe old age, had somehow gotten custom monogrammed neck collars and fitted themselves with these. Not especially likely.
Today I will try to revisit the pond, relocate these geese and recheck the collar codes. Maybe with my scope and camera I can get it right this time! Good birding.