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March 23, 2013

Luck and timing helpful to birders


The backside of the cemetery sloped down to the pond with much bramble and vegetation in the way. The ducks were closer, but the angle was such that some of the flock was obscured around the corner of some land jutting out into the water. We struggled for more than an hour as ducks floated in and out of view.

After almost three hours of trying to find the tufted duck, Margo and our friend Linda decided to go to the harbor where the duck was originally found. Sure enough, twenty minutes later I got the call that they found the bird there. We headed there directly and had excellent close views of a very much awake, and actively feeding, tufted duck.

We then decided to head to Fairhaven to look for a white-fronted goose that had been feeding with Canada geese in fields on Shaw Road. It was already mid-afternoon by the time we arrived there. As we pulled up, we could see a large flock Canada geese grazing in the field, but about fifty geese took off immediately and we carefully scrutinized each flying goose to be sure it wasn’t the white-fronted. None were, so we were optimistic as we scanned the remainder of the flock still feeding. However, it didn’t take long before we realized that the white-fronted goose was not among them.

The geese that flew off were heading southwest, so once again we checked the maps to find areas that they may have put down. Little Bay and West Island were in that direction, so that is where we headed as well.

We first pulled into Little Bay. Once we walked to the water and set up our scopes, we could see that there were some Canada geese across the bay. The white-fronted goose is smaller and patterned very differently, and I spotted the bird almost immediately among its larger cousins. I was able to get Margo and Linda, who had joined us there, on the bird just before it swam behind an island of mud and grass.

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