This afternoon I came across a Pink-footed Goose with a handful of Canada Geese on the power canal in Turner's Falls. My expectations were low as I arrived with perhaps less than 100 birds on the water. I'd also just arrived from Barton Cove which, aside from five American Coots found by Bill Lafley the day before, was eerily devoid of birds.
My first two scans of the Canada Geese on the power canal yielded nothing of interest, but I set up my scope anyway and began a more thorough effort. After going through two thirds of the flock, I picked up the frosty blue-gray upperparts of a 'gray' goose (Anser sp.), and as it lifted its head from preening, the dark brown head, short neck and pink band on the bill gave me all the information I needed - a Pink-footed Goose! Having seen rare geese suddenly take off and leave the power canal for no obvious reason, I first worked on getting as much photo-documentation as possible. A couple from Connecticut passing through the area on their way to Vermont arrived about 10 minutes later, and also spent time trying to get images - unfortunately I didn't get their names, nor did I see their results.
The Pink-footed Goose remained in view, mostly hugging the bike path side of the canal, until I had to leave to pick-up Matan from nursery school at 15:45hrs. The couple from CT may have moved around to the bike path side to get better images as I was leaving, though I don't know if they succeeded.
Provided this bird is accepted by the Massachusetts Avian Records Committee, it should become the 4th state record and the first in the Pioneer Valley. Two other Massachusetts records come from Cape Cod, and there was a third which spent some time the Concord/Acton area in late fall/early winter 2010. Some images of that individual can be seen here; Concord Pink-foot Dec 25th, 2010.
All the images below relate to the Turner's Falls bird, taken on October 26th, 2011.
Pink-footed Goose - spent virtually the whole time preening.
Showed the blue-gray upperwings well several times, but this was the closest I got to an image.