Friday 27 November 2015

A gaggle of geese!

Every spring and fall hundreds of thousands of Snow and Canada Geese pass through easternmost Ontario on their migrations between the Arctic and the east coast. The sights can be dizzying with so many geese in the air, especially for southern Ontarians who think a flock of a couple thousand Canadas is a big one!

This spectacle has made headlines in Ontario this month because Jacques Bouvier found a Pink-footed Goose in a large flock of Greater Snow Geese near Moose Creek. This, being the first record for Ontario, has obviously created lots of attention on these amazing flocks of birds. Even without this rarity it is well worth the trip in spring or fall to witness all of the geese in eastern Ontario and western Quebec.

I have visited the area twice over the past month (helps to have inlaws in the area!!) and captured some images that give you a bit of a feel for the huge numbers, but to really do it justice you'll have to check it out yourself!

If you really want to do this one justice, open it up in your browser (click here) and then zoom in to see it at full size! PS: there is a Greater White-fronted Goose in that image somewhere...

Immature Greater White-fronted Goose
On a more recent visit, I checked the Moose Creek Sewage Lagoons and was happy to find a neck-collared Snow Goose. This is my third I have found in this general area. The other two were both banded on Bylot Island (where most "Greater" Snow Geese breed). Here's the collared goose I found this time:

I submitted the information to the Bird Banding lab (so that they and the bander have the information about where the bird has been re-sighted) and got back this information:

As you can see, this bird was also banded on Bylot Island, this time in 2013. By my calculations it has flown at least 22,000 km in it's life, probably much further!

I also found a nice big flock of Canada Geese closer to Morrisburg:

After a bit of searching I found two Cackling Geese mixed in! Did you see them in the above photo?? Here they are:

Still can't see them in the big image? Here, I have marked their location:

Always fun sifting through these huge flocks!!!