On Nov 12, 2006, at 1:36 PM, [log in to unmask] wrote:

> I found no flocks of Snow Geese at Dead Creek late this morning,  
> but at
> about 10:30 there was a flock of about 1000 along Cider Mill Road  
> between
> Rts. 125 and 23 just outside Middlebury, and another flock of several
> thousand near the intersection of Rt. 23 and Prunier Rd. in  
> Weybridge.  Two
> hunters told me that a dark bird that I had seen in the latter  
> flock was a
> Brant, as I had suspected but couldn't be sure without a scope.   
> They said
> they were going to try to sneak up on the flock.  When I returned  
> two hours
> later the flock was gone.
> At Dead Creek several hundred Mallards were in the puddles of water  
> not far
> from the viewing area.  A few Black Ducks were mixed in.  A Northern
> Harrier and at least one Red-tail soared in the brisk wind.
> Now for the mystery:  At the western end of the viewing area I  
> found one
> lone goose hanging out with several dozen Mallards.  From the neck  
> down,
> this goose looked very much like Sibley's "white juvenile" Snow Goose,
> though overall somewhat lighter.

The coloration on the Snow Geese and Ross's can be very variable.

> But the head coloration and the bill
> looked more like a Ross's Goose.

The bill is the about the only discernible feature on a Ross's Goose.

>   The bill, though not quite black, was
> dark enough that it had no discernible "grin-patch."  The base of  
> the bill
> was definitely vertical like the Ross and not curved like the  
> Snow.  The
> bill seemed small, but I had nothing to compare it to.

The bill of a Ross's Goose will be incredibly small when compared to  
a Snow Goose.  Although it might be hard to tell if you have not seen  
both species before the bill on a Ross's goose is quite noticeable.   
I would use some literature online to compare what you thought the  
bill looked like to some photos.  Check out 
snowross.html  .

>   It had a distinct
> black line from the bill to the eye, the forehead was white, the  
> top of the
> head was tannish, and the back of the head was white.  The back of  
> the neck
> was tannish, like the white juvenile Snow.  It's hard to judge the  
> overall
> size of the bird, having no other geese with it, but it was much  
> taller and
> fatter than the Mallards, and probably longer.

Its hard enough to tell in a flock of Snow Geese too.

>   When I first saw it, it was
> about 200 yards away, but over the next half hour or so, it gradually
> foraged its way to about 100 yards from me.  So I had very good  
> views even
> with just binoculars.  Does this sound like a Ross's-Snow hybrid?  Any
> other ideas?  Ross's would be a life bird for me, though I guess a  
> hybrid
> doesn't quite count!

Its up to you if you are confident enough to call it or not.

> Ken Copenhaver
> Fiarfax VT

Also I had a Drake and a Hen long-tailed Duck at Shelburn Bay Park  
last Tuesday,  I'm not sure if these are worth reporting but they  
flew past our geology class just past Allen Hill.

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