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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Barnacle Goose in Clinton, New Jersey

There have been several Barnacle Geese--rare visitors to the Eastern United States from Iceland--kicking around New Jersey this winter (see eBird map).  I narrowly missed seeing one at Spruce Run Reservoir near my house this past Wednesday (I was working out and got the text too late--it was gone by the time I arrived an hour later).  I've been watching flocks of geese all week hoping to relocate the bird, but without luck.

This afternoon there were almost no geese on Spruce Run, but I saw birds landing below the dam...so finally I drove over there and scoped out the geese.  Nothing.  Actually, there was a Cackling Goose mixed in with the larger Canada Geese.  And 10,000 gulls streamed over the dam heading south with an amazing orange sunset behind them.  And a couple flocks of Snow Geese flew over high going south.  So it should have been enough for anyone's soul.

I met another birder and we talked for awhile as we continued to enjoy the sunset and I scoped out the birds streaming overhead.  After she left, the sun was gone, it was getting pretty dark, and I decided to scope out the flock of geese in the field below the Spruce Run Dam.  And there was the Barnacle Goose!

It was so dark I couldn't even see the goose in my phone screen while I tried digiscoping it...but fortunately the HTC Incredible phone camera came through and I at least got a couple of shots to document the record.

One of these things is not like the others...can you spot the rare goose?  Barnacle Goose after sundown, Clinton, Hunterdon, NJ, 19 Jan 2013--cropped but otherwise unretouched, HTC Incredible camera phone through Kowa 883 scope.

Barnacle Goose after sundown, Clinton, Hunterdon, NJ, 19 Jan 2013--cropped but otherwise unretouched, HTC Incredible camera phone through Kowa 883 scope.  Note also the two presumed Barnacle x Canada Goose hybrids with dark chests to the left of the Barnacle Goose. 

I was so focused on the Barnacle Goose, that I didn't notice the two birds with dark breasts that were with it--after Frank Sencher Jr relocated the goose the next morning, and reported two hybrid Canada x Barnacle Goose with the Barnacle Goose did I take a second look at my photos and sure enough there are two geese with dark chests to the left of the Barnacle Goose in the lower photo above.  Also, thanks to Michael Rehman for finding this goose earlier in the week--otherwise I might not have been watching the geese flocks this intently the past few days.

1 comment:

Alexis Moreno said...

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