Oie cendrée

Fortunately, reinforcements are on their way.  This damn goose is beginning to irritate me.  We know its here.  This morning there were between three and four thousand Canada Geese on the Richelieu R. in the area where the Oie cendrée had been seen the last two days.  Doug and I scanned the flock as best we could without seeing the Graylag Goose. We then went about ½ mile south (just south of the 35 bridge) where another three thousand Canadas and ten thousand Snow Geese were roosting. No luck. Around 8:30 AM all the geese flew out to eat in the surrounding farm fields.  No problem, they would return around noon for a midday lounge on the Richelieu R.  At least that’s what the geese did Saturday and Sunday.  But today they stayed out in the fields and didn’t return till just before dusk, when wave after wave of goose skeins streamed in.  There were too many of them and it was just too dark.

Optimism reigns.  Bland Liz and a birding friend named Zeke will join us tomorrow morning.  The massive flocks are here. We just need to find Oie cendrée. I have no commitments till I must leave Saturday for a flight to California where I will join the “Dream Team” on a Sunday pelagic trip out of Bodega Bay. Till then I remain on a wild goose hunt.

On a personal note, I haven’t shaved for a week and probably look like a street person in Boulder.  This may have given a false impression to tonight’s waitress at the”Greek Cafe” restaurant, which despite the name had no Greek food and even more annoying no adult beverages.  We left when this was translated into English, but after I ate one piece of bread. Linda would have been mortified!

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9 Responses to Oie cendrée

  1. Herb Wilson says:


    Here’s another possible shot for your Great Skua.


    On 11 December, weather permitting, there will be a pelagic SeaBC (Sea Bird Count). This is loosely modeled after the annual Christmas Bird Count, except we will be on a boat (this event is modeled on the Sea Bird Count first launched last year by blue ocean sailors). We will depart Northeast Harbor and head approximately 25 south to Mount Desert Rock.

    Departure will be from Northeast Harbor, located on Mount Desert Island, at 6:00 a.m. on Sunday, 11 December, and return during daylight late afternoon, hopefully by 4:00. This will be cold! And the boat offers no inside seating, although there will be shelter from the wind. There is a $45 cost to pay for fuel. Please call 207/288-4205 if you have questions or wish to sign up. Space is limited to 15 people.

    Richard MacDonald
    The Natural History Center
    6 Firefly Lane, “On the Village Green”
    P.O. Box 6
    Bar Harbor, Maine 04609
    207/801-2617 (store)
    207/266-9461 (mobile)

  2. riley wyna says:

    Wishing you good luck tomorrow with the Goose!

  3. Lamarr Eddings says:

    I think a “playoff beard” for the last month is a great way to finish out! Enjoy hanging out with Liz. She seems to have the touch!

  4. fred says:

    Chasing phantoms is what I call it.

  5. William Vanderpoel says:


    Get your GAME FACE on today! The Valley beckons once again.

    Bill V

  6. Al Trompler says:

    Well, I’m certainly not fluent in French, but it appears from a post on the Ornitho-Qc birding list by Simon Duval that you and your Musketeers saw the Oie Cendree today. If so, you are, no doubt, celebrating with a nice non-alcoholic drink at the Greek Cafe, and that’s why you haven’t updated your count yet. Hope I more or less interpreted that post correctly.

    Al Trompler

  7. Canadian says:

    Really enjoyed reading your nail-baiting accounts and recalled my own Big Year experiences. Wonder if you can put down the state after a town or city. I scratch and wonder where this or that place is. Thanks. Much luck to you to break the record of 745!

  8. John Vanderpoel says:

    Well spoken Al. Viva the Greek Cafe. I like “the Musketeers” reference.

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