A mix flock of mostly Ross' and Snow Geese along Goose Creek Road, outside of Churchill. There are also some Northern Pintail in this picture
The mythical Blue Ross' Goose: poor digiscope quality, but, you can really pick the one bird out quite easily in the top photo. Both birds are in the bottom photo. It probably helps to click on the picture to get a larger version
With so many Branta geese passing through, of several subspecies, it was a real opportunity to study Canada and Cackling Geese side by side. And what a task it turned out to be. The range of color, shape, and size ran all the way from normal Canada Goose to normal Cackling Goose, and everything in between, to the point that some individuals or even groups of birds were just unable to be identified with confidence.
It's tough to pick out, but this picture shows the leucistic Cackling Goose we found. It's ghostly pale, and blends into the snowy background quite well
Due to the extensive snow and ice cover in early June, most of the geese (and most of the birds around, for that matter) were concentrated in relatively few locations, most of which were low lying, near the Churchill River. As a result, most of these locations experienced heavy goose browsing, and were left barren mud flats when the geese left.
Sandhill Crane hanging out with some Cackling and Canada Geese. There are a few pairs of cranes that nest around Churchill, and during migration, we would get some decent flocks (100-200 birds) around town
As a consequence of a late spring and summer, the Snow Geese that nest around La Perouse Bay, about 30 kilometers east of Churchill, failed. Nests were initiated over a week later than the latest date on record, and many had to be placed in sub-optimal locations due to high water levels. This left goose nests far more susceptible to predation, and by July, most, if not all goose nests had been depredated. Geese farther south, however, along James Bay, had a far more successful year, as did geese elsewhere in the Arctic.
By the end of the second week of June, almost all of the Snow, Ross', Cackling, and White-fronted Geese had departed the Churchill area, and all that was left were the breeding Canada Geese.