Monday, October 6, 2008

Barnacle and Greater White-fronted Geese in North Yarmouth, ME

Let the good times roll!

First it was a Northern Wheatear in Gray. Then it was a White-winged Dove just down the street in Portland (which, to my knowledge, did not return after I watched it fly off). Now there are geese in North Yarmouth.

The place is Thornhurst Farm in North Yarmouth, a lovely working farm with rolling hills and fields. The place is always a great southerly migration spot for Canada Geese...and whatever other birds get caught up in the flocks.

A few days ago I went up to find the reported Greater White-fronted Goose, and today I returned and found the reported Barnacle Goose. Good times all around. Here are some terrible pictures:

Greater White-fronted, front and center, head down looking left.

Barnacle Goose, facing right, just over the cow's left ear.

Barnacle Goose, looking at camera, over the big cow's butt.

The question with Barnacle Geese is whether they are wild vagrants or escaped domestics. I don't really have anything to say about it. The usual mark of a domestic bird is a big, deep belly - fat accumulated from a comparatively sedentary life. To me, this bird did not appear any fatter or deeper than any of the other geese. Of course, much more study of this bird is required to make the best decision.

Secondly, I was unable to find any of the handful of Cackling Geese present at the location. Cackling Geese are a lot more difficult to pick out of a flock than a Barnacle or Greater White-fronted, and time has not permitted me to linger at the farm, so it looks like I'll just have to take another trip to the farm.


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