a blog about what interests me! birds, baskets, butterflies, moths, biking.............

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring Waterfowl along the CT River

Barnacle Goose, Vernon, VT

   The Barnacle Goose nests in Greenland and winters in Europe, and rarely strays to northeast North America. They are a favorite aviary bird, so whether this one was an escapee or not is uncertain. This past winter one has shown up in Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut and ours on the Vermont/New Hampshire border. All have been found in flocks of Canada geese.

Canada Geese
   Among the flock that the Barnacle was with, were a couple Canada geese that showed some hybridization. The one on the left in the above picture, has a white line down the front of his neck, white around his eyes and bill, an orange-mottled bill and when he flew in, a few of the leading primaries were white. Also, notice the goose (third from right), his chin-strap is incomplete. Compare it to his neighbors whose white chin-strap extends from cheek to cheek, by way of the chin.

Northern Shoveler
   With hardly any snow here in southeastern Vermont this winter and temperatures that seemed to be warmer than usual, the Connecticut River and other lakes and ponds thawed out sooner than ever. Flocks and flocks of Canada Geese and other waterfowl went north to their breeding grounds pretty quickly. This pair of Northern Shovelers started their day at Minards Pond in Bellows Falls, about 45 minutes later, they flew into Herrick's Cove, a mile or so north. Later that day, a birding friend found them still further north in Springfield. Whether it was the same pair is hard to say, but no Shovelers were found in the area the next day. The next few pictures of a some of the ducks I photographed this spring, some will continue their migration north and some will nest here.

young male Common Goldeneye
adult male and female Common Goldeneye

Ring-necked Duck (top) and Hooded Merganser

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