Saturday, September 26, 2009

New Canada Geese from Greenland

Late Saturday AM, I stopped by Collins Pond in Caribou to watch the big flock of Canada Geese return to the pond after a morning of feeding. A dozen or so other people also had the same idea on this glorious morning. The birds didn't disappoint and started filing in almost as soon as I arrived... a dozen up to fifty at a time.

One of the early arriving flocks came in with a lone adult Snow Goose in its midst. This was only the second of this species I've seen this year. It was a nice bonus surprise.

After about 45 minutes, an estimated 1,800 Canada Geese had arrived back in the pond and the flow of geese slowed to a trickle. A thorough inspection of the pond-full of waterfowl revealed no other unusual species (beyond the Snow Goose), however, I did note a couple of the new arrivals that were sporting neck yellow neck collars.

With my spotting scope, I was able to get a much closer look and the Canada Geese and was able to make out three letter alpha codes on the yellow collars: GLF and GLU... It appeared these were some of the geese that are being marked in Greenland as part of Greater White-fronted Goose research there. (Last year a flock of five similarly-marked Canada Geese spent the latter half of the month of October in the Caribou area and were thoroughly blogged up here...).

When I returned home, I checked my records for the alpha codes on these 2008 geese and found that one (GLF) was one of these five seen last year.

I was able to snap a few pictures of the pair and sent one out, with news of the resighting, to the researchers Tony Fox and David Stroud. Tony and David responded to say that GLF (a female) had returned to Isunngua, in southwest Greenland after wintering in the US in 2008-2009. The crew there had spotted it with some other geese during their trapping/marking work in July 2009. GLU (a male) was also originally marked in 2008 but hadn't been seen since!

A straight line between Isunngua, Greenland and Caribou, Maine is 1,500 miles. I'm sure the path travelled by these geese was a winding one and more miles were covered.... A long trip to make once, let alone three times...

Amazing stuff right happens right in my home "patch".

A link to the Greenland Goose resighting page is here:

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