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Checklist S9205469

 
Location
Rodeo Lagoon, Marin County, California, US ( Map ) ( Hotspot )
Date and Effort
Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:10 AM
Protocol:
Traveling
Party Size:
2
Duration:
2 hour(s), 50 minute(s)
Distance:
2.0 mile(s)
Observers:
David Wiechers List , William Legge
Comments:
60 minute sea watch off Rodeo Beach, plus a circuit of the main lagoon. Wind ENE, moderate, partly cloudy with Tule Fog over the Marin Headlands. With Dave Wiechers.
Species
50 species total
1

Dave Wiechers and I were fortunate enough to locate an adult Emperor Goose sitting on the ocean, c. 200 yards off Rodeo Beach/Rodeo Lagoon in the Marin Headlands at approx. 8.00am this morning (Sunday Nov. 27). An amazing and totally unexpected find.

The Emperor Goose must have flown in shortly before we saw it as we'd been scanning the ocean, sea watching, counting loons and grebes since 7.30am but we only picked up the goose at the back of a large loose raft of Western Grebes at around 8.00am approx. 200 yards offshore. My immediate reaction was "its an adult Emperor Goose" based on the distinct head and neck pattern, but given the distance we started to talk ourselves out of it assuming the goose to be some form of oddly patterned blue morph Snow or Ross's Goose. By this time the goose had drifted south off the beach closer to Bird Island and was on its own. Fortunately it then swan into a flock of California Gulls and right past a couple of Western Grebes, enabling good size comparison and we noted that it was only marginally larger than the gulls but about the same size in dimension as the Grebes, and so we rulled out Snow Goose (plus the fact that we couldn't see any kind of smile in the small pink bill. Additionally the small and rounded head and bill size and shape were all wrong for Snow Goose. That left Ross's Goose. Noting that one of the latter was seen flying in through the Golden Gate yesterday, we started to consider that. Neither Dave nor I have ever seen any blue-morph Ross's and everything about this bird pointed back to Emperor Goose. The real clincher though other than the distinctive head and neck pattern was when the bird took flight, flew around the southern end of the Bay at Rodeo Beach adjoining Bird Island only to re-land further out on the ocean closer to the western tip of Bird Island. The white tail feathers were clearly visible in a neat semi-circle contrasting with the dark gray slate of the tail coverts and rump, as well as the all dark slate gray wings(both upper and underwing). In fact when sat on the ocean, the bird's back was uniformly patterned scaly slate blue/gray. (A quick look at Sibley later confirmed all the diagnostic features of our bird!).

Given some of the other offshore movement taking place we took our eyes off the bird and it then vanished on us. Our guess is that it flew off south, around Bird Island, (as we would have likely seen it had it flown off north past us on the beach). Naturally we are hoping it entered San Francisco Bay or will be relocated by others at points further south. In all, we watched the bird for close to 20-25 minutes, and its departure time would have been around 8.25/8.30am this morning.

4

Flew S offshore with Northern Pintail

3

Pair and 1st winter male on the main lagoon, the pair departing pretty quickly

18

17 on the main lagoon, plus 1 on the inner lagoon

74

All seen in flight at distance, comprising flocks of 25 and 4 which flew S, 16 which flew N and 29 which flew in offshore the ocean heading SE high over the Marin Headlands.

2

Female and 1st winter male on the main lagoon

1

Usual female on the main lagoon

27

1 on the ocean off Rodeo Beach, plus 24 flew S and 2 N offshore

2

Main lagoon

6

3 on the main lagoon (2 adult males and a female) and 3 flew S well offshore

3

Redheads flew S offshore

10

Main lagoon

3

Main lagoon

5

On ocean off Rodeo Beach

8

7+ on the main lagoon, plus 1 on the ocean off Rodeo Beach

182

170+ on the ocean off Rodeo Beach, plus 12+ on the main lagoon

3

2 on the ocean off Rodeo Beach and 1 on the main lagoon

1
2

Including one seen well in the Rail Trail area on the norther shore of the main lagoon opposite the Fire Station

901

Comprising 832 on the main lagoon, 60 on the inner lagoon and 9 on the ocean off Rodeo Beach

2
1
2

Seen in flight offshore

20
15
5
81

1 on the main lagoon, plus 40+ on the ocean off Rodeo Beach and 40+ flew S offshore

6

Flew S offshore

33

A flock of 29 flew S high over th coastline, plus 2 flew SE and 1 N and 1 on the main lagoon

5

3 flew N and 2 S

1
3
1
2

Pair

1
1
1
1
4
2
1
1
4
1
6
8
1
3
1
2
 

Are you submitting a complete checklist of the birds you were able to identify?

Yes