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Baltimore by the Sea

Monday, January 12, 2015

My Wild Goose Chase

What is the point of retirement, if you can't occasionally skitter off on the odd wild goose chase? In this instance I heard about a specific wild goose. It abandoned its Eurasian habitat, flying into Oregon, where it made itself all comfy at the Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge. This particular 'rarity' bird is a Tundra Bean-Goose. As the bird has stayed put since early November, I decided it would likely to stay put long enough for me to see it.

The trek up to northern Oregon took half of forever - or so it felt. When I drove through the winding back roads onto the refuge, I looked over my shoulder, out the car window, through the trees, thinking 'the only silly goose here is me'. Then I saw the goose... there it was, grazing grass with its new buddies, a flock of Cackling Geese. Hurrah! I quickly ditched the car and hurried to take some opening shots of the goose with my camera. The bird was so far off, and getting a decent photo was a challenge.
The goose in the midst of Cackling Geese
I had to bring out the 'big gun', my spotting scope, and try for a digiscoped shot with my iPhone and Kowa spotting scope. Took me a while to get my iPhone rigged to the scope and even then I only managed two decent still shots.
Spot-billed, orange-legged and rare in these parts
Two decent shots beats the ole poke in the eye, right? It was late in the afternoon and when some other birders arrived. They introduced themselves; Ken & Barbie - sounded familiar somehow. They just flew in from the east coast to see this goose and get in some other Oregon birding. I was quite happy to share my scope with them. We also shared tales of birding around the country. By the time we were done chatting, it was approaching dark. I used the last bits of daylight to shoot some video of the goose. The honk near the end is not the goose, but Ken & Barbie bidding farewell to all friends, feathered and unfeathered.

This little video was shot with my iPhone 5, through my Kowa spotting scope.

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