On Saturday, I received a report that the floodplain along Cty Rd #9, 5
minutes north of St. Isidore, had no Snow Geese. The birds had relocated to
the Cobb's Lake Creek floodplain east of Bourget, about 20 minutes west.
Movement between the two sites can be expected to occur until both areas
dry up in a couple of weeks or more.
On Sunday, I checked the Winchester area and had a large number of Snow
Geese for that area, more than expected. There were about 20-23,000. All of
the birds were sitting or standing on the grassy berms around the sewage
ponds northeast of town (on Cty Rd #3) and the dairy pond in town (view
from Alexander Street). As expected, Winchester is currently where the
concentration of Lesser Snow Geese can be found. Some will eventually move
to other sites further northeast. These birds show up in flocks a couple of
weeks after the main flock of Greaters first appear and end up mixed in
with the Greaters although there is a tendency for them to stick together
when in large numbers. The large flock of geese at Cobb's Lake would have a
small number of Lessers.
Today I saw more Lessers than I have ever had. Determining which were
Greater and Lesser was difficult because many birds were sitting down and
were spread across the numerous pond areas. There could easily have been
5,000+, maybe much more than that. The problem was determining which were
Greater white morphs vs Lesser when at rest at a distance.
The blues were easy because virtually all of them were Lessers and this was
the largest number I have seen in the region although others have had good
numbers in the past as well. There were likely well over 1,000 blue morphs,
possibly closer to 1,300, with some groupings of dark birds looking at a
distance to at first be Canadas. There were no Canadas at all. The
percentage of blue to white morphs in Lessers we have seen for birds moving
to Quebec is far higher than for Greaters – roughly 1/3 or better, while in
the last few years, in very large flocks of Greaters (50-80,000), blue
morphs have been barely worth talking about – well below 1%.
These birds were resting near 1:00 pm so I can't say what their routine is
like for feeding. They did some feeding on the grass but may move to area
cornfields as well.
I had one Ross's with the Lessers and was only able to identify it because
it wasn't too far out. There could have been a few more.