Sunday, November 20, 2011

Barnacle Goose in West Newbury, MA

With few local birds available, and in imminent danger of acute birding withdrawal, I decided to drive to Plum Island yesterday to check on shorebirds and waterfowl and, while there. also check out the Barnacle Goose reported to be on a dairy farm in West Newbury.  

I visited Plum Island first and then drove to the farm. I found one birder already there  who told me the Barnacle Goose had moved to the back over a ridge and out of sight. So all we could see on the meadow were a flock of Canada Geese. The meadow was bordered by a private residence with a lawn stretching down to a pond, right along side the meadow and past the ridge. After waiting for about a half hour and determining that there was nobody at home who I could ask for permission,  I decided to walk down the lawn toward the pond.  About half way down the geese became aware of me and apparently alarmed started moving uphill over the ridge toward the road, the Barnacle Goose among them.  

This rather handsome goose breeds in the arctic north, Greenland and northern Eurasia, and winters in northern Europe and the British Isles. Occasionally a bird shows up in North America; this may be a vagrant, or possibly an escapee since the breed is popular with collectors.

Mixed in with the flock of Canada Geese were several Snow Geese, among them two adult white morphs and a juvenile, distinguished by a dark beak, and an intermediate morph, intermediate that is between a white and a dark morph.

I'll report on my visit to Plum Island in my next post. Thanks for visiting.

Happy Birding!

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  1. Neat sighting of the Barnacle Goose. I have always enjoyed seeing the flocks of snow geese. Wonderful photos, Hilke.

  2. I haven't seen these as yet. And I am having 'acute birding withdrawal,' too. Not a thing going on for birds here of late. At least, not in my yard. It's sort of creepy, actually, the lack of birds here. But, then, the weather is pretty odd, too. Nearly 60 today! Have a grand Thanksgiving, Hilke.

  3. If the bird is on private property and the property owner is not available to ask permission the correct course of action is to NOT enter. You make us all look bad.

  4. Hi Hilke

    You had some pretty interesting geese in that flock. I really enjoyed seeing them.


  5. Excellent. We had a Barnacle in Ontario a couple of winters back, a very exciting bird to see.

  6. ...the Barnacle Goose is handsome. I love the coloring and the black and white bars--an interesting pattern. Glad you were able to see him!!

  7. Nice photos Hilke.

  8. Hilke, what a beauty! Congrats on your perseverance! I have never seen this species. do you know if it is still hanging out there?

  9. Beautiful birds!
    Thanks for your info.
    I always like to know the name of the birds.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  10. my neighbor had a small farm with domestic geese that used to spend the summer on our pond. I would give the two ganders a piece of bread a day (with permission) and if I didn't get out there at the appointed of them would come up the deck steps and knock on the window..loved them...


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