Not Just Any Goose: Barnacle Goose

Photo of Barnacle Geese among Canada Geese

Last Thursday, I made the long drive to Aroostook County, the northernmost county in Maine. I was on a wild goose chase. Two days prior, a pair of Barnacle Geese had been seen in Caribou and reported by Bill Sheehan (president of the Aroostook Birders).

The nearest known breeding location for Barnacle Goose is Greenland, and most individuals winter in Europe. This sighting, along with some additional reports of Cackling Geese at this and nearby locations (both species I'd never seen before), motivated me to head north.

I arrived at Collins Pond in Caribou around 11am to find about a hundred Canada Geese present. I'd been told that in October it's typical for several hundred or even thousands of geese to spend the midday hours at this spot (after feeding in nearby farm fields for the morning), so I waited patiently, hoping to witness the arrival of the masses.

Before long, flock after flock of geese appeared from various directions, all seemingly landing except for a flock of 19 Snow Geese who I noticed circle the pond more than once before flying out of view.

Photo of Snow Goose flock
Snow Goose flock

And then, a few minutes before noon, I watched the pair of Barnacle Geese arrive with a small flock of Canadas. As my photos show, they're smaller than the average Canada Goose, and look quite sharp with their black and silvery-white backs, black necks, and white faces. [Click here for the next part of this goose tale.]

To learn more about Barnacle Geese, visit Wikipedia. To view the following images in full-size, click here.

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