Thursday, October 7, 2010

Goose notes

My heart knows what the wild goose knows,
I must go where the wild goose goes.
Wild goose, brother goose, which is best?
A wanderin' fool or a heart at rest?*

For a few days last week a Canada Goose stopped over at Cummings Beach. Mostly it kept to itself, resting and foraging upon the grasses, sedges and pondweeds growing along on the shore of Lake Superior. When either our resident or high-flying migrating Canada Geese passed over, it cocked an eye in their direction but was otherwise unmoved. The goose bore an aluminum band on its leg and with a 20x spotting scope I was easily able to read the number.

Shortly after reporting the band on-line, I learned that the this goose had been banded as a flightless gosling on July 17, 2010 near Winisk, on the Hudson Bay coast, 750 km due north of Marathon. Thus, it was likely of the interior subspecies, smaller and duskier than the Giant Canada Goose (Branta canadensis maxima) most familiar to residents of southern Ontario.

The bander was Dr. Ken Abraham of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Each summer, Ken and his team band approximately 8000 Canada Geese (3000 adults, 5000 goslings) along the coast of northern Ontario (from the Quebec border to the Manitoba Border) and on the north shore of Akimiski Island, Nunavut.

Sarah Hagey, a member of Dr. Abraham's crew, graciously provided some photos of the habitat at the mouth of the Winisk River, an area that has been designated an Important Bird Area.

  • From Bird Studies Canada, a profile of the Winisk River Estuary, Peawanuck, Ontario, Important Bird Area.
  • From Jean Iron, some photos of some members of Dr. Abraham's crew (who appear to enjoy they work).

1 comment:

  1. Great site Michael. I lived in Echo Bay for a short time and used to commute to Heast by car via Montreal River, Wawa, White River and is it 537 that great highway that announces there is nothing until the RR town (Folyette) mid way and nothing again until Hearst. At Wawa I saw a black wolf on a rock cut calmly watching the traffic.Be back.