Sorting through Flocks of Canada Geese


One of the joys and sorrows of winter birding in the Northeast is all of the odd geese (Greater White-fronted, Pink-footed, Ross’s, Cackling) that show up with the migratory flocks of Canada Geese.  But searching for an odd goose in a sea of Canada Geese is a study in perseverance. It has taken me 5 tries this year (and 3 last year) to finally get on the Barnacle Goose that has been in Califon, NJ. Part of the problem is that there are many farm fields where the flock could be munching it’s way through the corn stubble. Then there is also lots of pasture land with yummy, tender, frost-weaken grasses.  Some of the fields are close to the road while others are far and really not viewable.  So I would end up creeping around back country roads looking at field after field of geese.  (Ya know, there really are a lot of Canada Geese in the world.) And, of course, the flock in front of you may not be THE flock you are looking for.  Sigh, it is a trial.  BUT, I finally found the Barnacle Goose today in an orchard (of all places).  Can you see it in the picture?  Trust me it’s there.  And yes, it was snowing, again.


Filed under Local schmocal, migration, Photos

6 responses to “Sorting through Flocks of Canada Geese

  1. Hard to tell for sure, but I’m guessing third from right in the front? Regardless of my accuracy, you saw it in person, so congratulations.

  2. Wren! You got it, right away!! Yep that’s the one.

  3. The size is the best clue.

  4. Man does that look cold. I’m impressed with your perseverance. Way to go.

  5. wow you guys are good…I need to study some more!

  6. Héctor

    I need to travel some more!

    Never seen a Canada Goose… needless to say I’ve not seen a Barnacle Goose either… the first is a vagrant species in Puerto Rico, where I live, so I suppose I won’t see one just around the corner…

    I know how annoying this common species can be, and how they can contribute to a birder’s frustration when looking at them one by one hoping for a more unusual sighting… the same thing happened to me this weekend ruling out Bananaquit after Bananaquit to find a Black-throated Green Warbler (which is extremely rare in the mountains of PR during winter). The thing is, it doesn’t matter how common they are, this species (the Canada Goose there, the Bananaquit here) are not only an important element of our biodiversity… they provide some excitement too!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s