I know the following sighting is in NH, but just across the river from VT -
This afternoon (3/30) I had what was probably a hybrid ROSS' x SNOW GOOSE in
Charlestown, NH in a field along the Connecticut River. This bird was in a
flock of about 50 snows in a farmer's field along the west side of Route 12,
about a mile or so south of Charlestown Center (a couple miles N of the
12/12A intersection). Other birds in the field were 1 BRANT, about 500
Canadas, 1 farm-Graylag type goose, and numerous mallards and black ducks.
Distance to the goose was about 50-75 yards or so (I'm not too good as
estimating distances). The white geese were generally in the back of the
flock farthest from the road (ugh!) and the brant tended to hang around in or
near the snows.
The Ross x Snow was about 2/3 the size of the Snow geese it was with, with
respect to body length, height, body girth, leg length and neck length. It
was only a bit larger than a male mallard - direct comparison when these two
birds were side by side. What was particularly striking was that the head
and neck were at most 1/2 of the thickness of the snows. Bill was shorter
and not nearly as thick and heavy as the snows. Unfortunately, I don't think
the bill was short and stubby enough to be a full-bred Ross'. Also, it
probably showed a small grin patch (but this was difficult to tell for sure
because of the distance). Bird was pure white (with exception of the black
wing tips of course) with no staining around the head (many of the snows had
head staining). Forehead was sloped much more sharply than the snows, giving
the head a rounded look, but again the head did not seem to slope enough to
be a purebred Ross'.
I first found the bird at 2 PM and it was still present when I left at 3 PM.
Members of a local Audubon chapter field trip (can't remember which chapter)
happened by when I had the bird, and they were able to see both this bird and
Parking along the road is very limited and shoulders are very narrow - so be
careful if you try to go after this bird. Also, the field had several hills
that obscured much of the snow goose flock at times. Our best viewing was
from the roadside near the southern end of the field - the extra elevation
helped to look over the small hills. Most of the white goose flock was not
visible from the road near the northern end of the field.
An adult bald eagle flew overhead just before all the goose excitement.
Needless to say, I'd be happy if others could successfully turn it into a
Ross' instead of a hybrid.
I spent much of the day along the Conn. River looking for waterfowl on both
sides of the river. I'll send another e-mail later summarizing the totals.
Good luck to anyone searching for the goose!
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12 Lakin Street
Pepperell, MA 01463