Its been a busy week at Collins Pond in Caribou. The Canada Goose flock has been growing steadily since the middle of last month and we were overdue for something unusual it seemed.
This week the unusual started to arrive with a Cackling Goose on Sunday the 2nd. The Cackler is a miniature version of the Canada Goose and a bit hard to spot in a flock of 3000+ geese. Most pronounced to my eye is the silvery cast to their back and wing (mantle) plumage. This seems to stand out among the brown backs of Canadas and is often visible with just a quick scan of a flock. Other pertinent identifying characters include the short neck, stubby bill, steep forehead and of course the slightly-larger-than-a-Mallard body size. Heres a digi-scoped photo of Sunday's Cackling Goose.
One Tuesday the 4th, an early morning check of Collins Pond produced no sign of the Cackling Goose. The birds were busy moving about the pond and were departing for the nearby fields to feed in 10's and 20's. As the flocks thinned out, the pink bill of a Greater White-fronted Goose became evident. I forgot my camera that morning but returned on Wednesday and was able to get a few marginal digi-scoped images of the bird.
Later that morning a group of Aroostook Birders returned to the pond to watch the spectacle of several thousand Canada Geese coming back from the fields to roost. Even by 10 AM there were some geese in the pond. Among them was a Barnacle Goose! Rarest by far of the rare geese visiting Collins Pond, this European vagrant only gets as close a Greenland in its regular travels. Luckily Paul Cyr was among the birders at the pond that day and Paul was able to get these nice pics of the bird despite the 30 mile-an-hour winds.
Cant wait to see how long these geese will stay and what else arrives!