Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Geese - Five species, but only just - CT 12/10

This morning I headed South into Connecticut hoping to have at least a morning at the Windsor Landfill before the forecast heavy rain really set in for the day. Although mild, squally showers really hampered observations and by 11:30hrs I had little to show for my time and decided to call it a day on gulls. When I left, some 2,500 gulls were present, all American Herring and Great Black-backed apart from 2 Ring-billed Gulls.

A nice selection of geese had been consistently reported from East Wallingford, just south of Meriden so instead of heading for home I decided to try my luck hoping that I'd find at least some birds close to the roads and thus prevent a repeat of the soaking that I got at the landfill. Well, I did find some birds, though it wasn't quite as straight forward as I'd hoped and I to work hard to eventually find the much reported Barnacle Goose which flew into a fog bound MacKenzie Reservoir when just about all the light had gone! This bird has present in the area for about a month and you can seen some fine images on Nick Bonomo's blog. Here's a pictorial log of the species seen today.

Pale-bellied Brant - juv/first-winter. (left most bird in both shots). Whirlwind Hill Road, E. Wallingford. New Haven Co.

Richardson's Cackling Goose - (left). This was the second of about 4 seen today. All were in fields on Whirlwind Hill Road, E. Wallingford. Nice stout bird with pale breast and rather 'frosted' appearance to upperparts, especially secondries and tertials.

Richardson's Cackling Goose - (left most bird in both shots). This was the third of four seen today. All were in fields on Whirlwind Hill Road, E. Wallingford. Smallish bird with 'tawny' breast and again frosted appearance to upperparts, especially secondries and tertials. This bird also had a weak neck ring at the base of the black neck-sock.

Greater White-fronted Goose - Interesting bird, almost totally lacking any pale fringing to the upperpart feathers, especially on the tertials and wing coverts. This combined with a thin flank stripe and a rather bright orange bill would point to this bird being of the Greenland form - flavirostris. MacKenzie Reservior, E. Wallingford.

MacKenzie Reservoir at dusk - the scene just before the Barnacle Goose arrived. Two American Coots in the foreground whilst the mist is hiding hundreds of Canada Geese.

Barnacle Goose - (center). Extreme digiscope at 16:33hrs. Nearly all the light had gone. The light gathering quality of my Swarovski scope was pretty remarkable in the case, giving decent views even when it was close to darkness. The bird is breast on and you can just about make out the cream face and the black breast (compare the white breasts of the surrounding Canada Geese).

Barnacle Goose - (center). 'Extreme' digiscope at dusk - 16:35hrs. Same as above. The bird is breast on, facing slightly left. This shot has been 'tweeked' for light and contrast with photoshop and has actually brought out the color of the cream face. The black breast is more striking in this shot as is the bright white flank. MacKenzie Reservior, E. Wallingford, New Haven Co.

1 comment:

Matt said...

James, those "extreme" shots of the Barnacles are phenomenal record shots, great job stretching the limits of time and light. Great goosing all around.