[Tweeters] Skagit Ross's Goose

Steve Giles giles.steve at hotmail.com
Fri Apr 11 19:17:37 PDT 2014

Hello Tweeters

I took advantage of the mild weather this afternoon to visit the Samish Flats to try to find the Ross's Goose that has been around for several months. This was my third try for this bird. Each previous time I was able to find a Snow Goose flock but it was too distant to make out individuals.

I drove to the spots where Scott Atkinson and Michael Hilchey had found this bird without any sign of Snow Geese. I decided to continue on to the West 90 to see what might be around. After 30 minutes of sorting out the territorial nesters I was rewarded with flocks of Snow Geese headed to the area from two directions.

The flocks continued over me to the dike so I followed them. The ground was drying and quite walkable. By now the Snow Geese were busily feeding. I was able to approach to within 300 yards and scope the flock. They shifted several times but stayed in the same general area and I was rewarded with a Ross's Goose visible at the outer edge of the flock. The comparison with the Snow's was obvious. Very short neck and beak; rounded head and smaller body. I watched it in the scope for 5-10 minutes.

It didn't appear that the birds were concerned about my presence. They did orient their heads skyward frequently as if checking for threats. There were a number of Bald Eagles in the area but they were all perched.

I was able to observe the flocks from 2 PM until 3:30. At that time the Balds got up in the air and spooked the goose flock. They circled several times and finally landed back out near the dike.

So the Ross's Goose is still around. I was able to watch it for 10 minutes of the 2 1/2 hours I was in the presence of the Snow Goose flock.

If you go to look for it I advise patience.

Steve Giles


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