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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Snow Goose

Chen caerulescens

12.31.2010 - Falls Lake, NC
James and I got our lifer Snow Goose in late 2010 when one was found on the Durham Christmas Bird Count associating with Canada Geese at what would become known as 'Magic Goose Pond'. We refound it later that year at the large pond off the railroad trestle that crosses Ellerbe Creek on Falls Lake. The goose was a blue-morph, very rare inland but numbers are increasing on the coast.

12.27.2010 - Pocosin Lakes NWR, NC
A week later, I left on my first birding trip to the Outer Banks. On the way, we stopped at Pocosin Lakes NWR and found this enormous flock consisting mostly of Snow Geese. We estimated about 30,000 Snow Geese, with about 10,000 Tundra Swans and some Canada and Ross's Geese mixed in. This is still one of the coolest experiences I've ever had, and really highlights coastal North Carolina as an important wintering site for these fantastic birds.

12.27.2010 - Pocosin Lakes NWR, NC
This photo represents just a small portion of the birds in the field that day. Notice the four different plumages of Snow Goose you can see here - adult white-morph, the predominant plumage shown; adult blue-morph, with its dark back and neck but white head; immature white-morph, which is kind of dingy gray; and immature blue-morph, which is a dark gray overall. I'll never forget the awe-inspiring sight and sound of 30,000 Snow Geese taking flight all at once!

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