Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sightings for Saturday November 14th

Danville, Étang Burbank: I decided to go for Etang Burbank Saturday morning, hoping to get there before the rain, as postings on Ornitho-Qc about the abundance of Snow geese, as well as sightings of Ross', Cackling, and Greater white-fronted geese, enticed me.
Got there a bit before 10 am, and lots of snow geese were on the lake, still many coming in. They are easy to see and approach from a number of places along the lakeshore, especially where there are boardwalks and a raised platform. After examining hundreds (thousands?) of geese I finally found a smaller one, all-white with black wingtips, which had a stumpy bill and no black "lips". Ross's goose, a lifer for me! Saw it with binoculars but then couldn't find it with my spotting scope!! However, lots more looking turned one up in the scope, and it posed next to snow geese, showing size difference, the more rounded head (looks more like a "puppy"), stumpy bill, lack of black on bill edges. Bill seemed to be brighter red than the orange bills of snow geese. I later found another Ross' goose that may have been a different individual as I could see the bluish-gray base of the bill very clearly. In all cases the bill stopped flush on the bird's "face", while the snow geese bills extended up on the side of the face towards the eyes.
I then found a single Canada-style goose in the middle of the snow geese (several groups of up to 20 Canada geese were patrolling the margins of the snow goose flock). This was smaller than the surrounding snow geese, in contrast to the other Canada geese, and had a very short, stubby bill. Breast was light, no white "collar". I followed it for a while, confirming bill and size, and a nearby person got a (distant and somewhat fuzzy) photo. (Richardson's) Cackling goose, probably Branta hutchinsii hutchinsii. Another lifer!!
Pretty good day. Rain started at 1 pm after I had squeezed all I could out of the lake. Small group of Bohemian waxwings in a tree near the park entrance, some Mallards, 3 or 4 (sp?) female and perhaps immature Scaups, several large groups of Common mergansers, a couple of male and female Hooded mergansers.
Snow geese started to fly away about 12:30, and lots of them congregated in fields on a hilltop to the west of the lake. I heard estimates that there were 50,000 Snow geese there today - N. Acheson

St-Barthélemy: 2 Snowy owls in the region of St-Barthélemy, Red-tailed Hawks (10), Rough-legged hawks (22), 2 Northern harriers, Cooper's hawk, 10 Great blue herons, 275 Snow buntings, a Northern shoveler and a late Turkey vulture
2 Harfangs des neiges
dans la région de Saint-Barthélemy, un Buses à queue rousse (10), Buses pattue (22), 2 Busards Saint-Martin, un Épervier de Cooper, 10 Grands Hérons, 275 Bruants des neiges, un Canard souchet et un Urubu à tête rouge tardif - Suzanne Morand, Yves Gauthier

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