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March 2007


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Vermont Birds <[log in to unmask]>
Mike Resch <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 29 Mar 2007 06:20:13 EDT
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Vermont Birds <[log in to unmask]>
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I was successful in finding the BARNACLE GOOSE in the fields at Riverside  
Drive in Vernon on 3/28.  Also had 4 CACKLING GEESE and 2 SNOW GEESE mixed  in 
with 4-5,000 Canadas, along with a number of other goodies.  Details  below -
I arrived at the fields at about 1:30 and found all the geese to the south  
(right as you drive in) of Riverside Drive.  Amazingly I found the BARNACLE  
mixed in with the Canadas within a couple minutes - no bands were apparent on  
either leg.  Soon thereafter it disappeared behind a small hill.  2  SNOW GEESE 
were visible also.
At about 1:45 geese started to fly in small flocks from the south to the  
north end of the fields.  At 1:50 I saw the Barnacle Goose leading a flock  of 12 
Canadas flying left (north), with the entire flock landing in the corn  
stubble near the N edge of the field.  I watched the bird in flight with  10X 
binocs at about 40 yards for maybe 20 seconds - no wear on the primaries was  
noted.  After some searching I found it foraging in the corn stubble on the  
ground.  At 2 PM it walked over a hill in the field out of sight - that was  the 
last I saw of it.  (At that point it was less than 50 yards from NH - I  still 
need it for my NH list!)
Until 3 PM small goose flocks continued to fly to this northern end of  the 
field - I counted 1144 Canadas and the 1 Barnacle.  Then the entire  northern 
flock spooked, circled, then flew back to the south end of the  field.
At about 3:45 the entire goose flock spooked - and for a while the  flock 
swirled overhead looking for places to reland.  During this time I  was able to 
pick out a tight group of 4 CACKLING GEESE overhead - I watched this  group for 
at least 30 seconds as they continued to stay together and not mix in  with 
the larger Canadas.  Not only were they obviously smaller, but had  much 
shorter necks, and flew differently - seemingly more shallow  wingbeats.  The 
Cacklings eventually landed together in the very far  southern end of the fields out 
of view.
In my 2 1/2 hours at the fields I had a number of other good birds -
    *   PEREGRINE FALCON - 1 - chasing the rock pigeons at the southern end 
of the  fields  
    *   Horned Larks - 200+ - at one point the ground near me was "alive" 
with  larks 
    *   E Meadowlark - 3 
    *   LAPLAND LONGSPUR - 2 - these were low altitude flybys not in the lark 
Mike  Resch
Pepperell, MA

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