Wednesday, October 7, 2009

6 October a Sixth Greenland Canada Goose at Collins Pond

I found GJY yesterday afternoon.

This was my sixth collared Canada Goose from Greenland so far this season. Again the bird was found in Collins Pond in Caribou. It was
with about 900 other Canadas. Attached is a photo (so I get the code

As always, when I report a marked goose to researchers Tony Fox and David Stroud, they respond quickly to me with the details of the birds travels. David Stroud wrote in part:

"...That's a really nice record, as we only had one sighting of
GJY last winter (in Connecticut) and this summer we saw it just once
(Lake L on 20 July) but even though it was evidently present in the
area, we didn't manage to retrap it. So that's only the third record
since we ringed it as part of our mega-catch that year." (that year was 2008).

It has been a bit frustrating this season that I can't seem to
relocate any of the other marked geese after I've spotted them once... I think I have spent more time, than ever before, monitoring the goose flocks in
the central Aroostook county area. In the past three days I have probably scoped 8,000+ geese in six different towns to no avail! I
wonder if most flocks are pushing through and continuing south rather
than staying in the area....

Due to the vagaries of agricultural markets, there seems to have been substantially less barley planted in the area this year in comparison with recent years. Many Aroostook farmers seem to have sown oats as a rotation crop (to their potato mainstay). While the oat crop offers the geese some spilled grain immediately after the harvest and, occasionally, clover (which is seeded with the oats and flourishes once the oats are cut), it can't compare to barley. This grain re-sprouts after the stubble is plowed under and in the past, offered the geese hundreds of acres of tender shoots!

Cull potatoes, left behind during harvest, also offer a favorite food
source for the geese but these are only consumable when there is a
steady cycle of freeze and thaw. The potatoes become soft in this
environment and the geese will nibble out any potato flesh they can
get. With an apparent early migration this year, the geese are bit
ahead of the cold temperatures and I rarely find geese in potato
fields yet.

So it appears food is a bit limited, as of yet, and it is possible that
the flocks aren't lingering as they usually do. Contra to my
hypothesis, I have relocated an unusual single adult Snow Goose and a
leucistic Canada Goose several times, so it appears at least some of these migrant birds are sticking around the area for a while.

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