Friday, March 28, 2014

MA - Pink-footed Goose

According to the weather forecast, I reckoned I'd have about 90 minutes for a short outing before the rain started in earnest around 10am, and that's pretty much how things worked out this morning. During the week I'd been impressed how local and visiting birders had kept tabs on the Pink-footed Goose found by Larry Therrien last Sunday (03/23). I dipped on Monday in a half-hearted effort in Hatfield but felt that my chances would be better this morning. Naturally, I was delighted to find a tiny group of birders already watching the bird in fields off Knightly Road when I arrived at about 09:10hrs. From that moment on I, and several local and visiting birders, had the bird in view for well over an hour. The best technique appeared to be pick a spot by the road and wait for the Pink-footed Goose to walk towards you because that's exactly what it did! At one point it was very nearly the closest goose to Knightly Road while the bulk of c.1200 Canada Geese foraged much farther out in the fields.

 True bill color often hidden by mud stains. 

 Hallux nicely intact. 

 Often aggressive towards neighboring Canada Geese. 

Pink-footed Goose - Knightly Road, Hadley, Hampshire Co., MA. March 28th, 2014. Probably the bird found by Larry Therrien in Hatfield on March 23rd, though there was speculation at the scene today that as many as three Pink-footed Geese maybe in the Pioneer Valley between Hadley and Longmeadow. An ABA Code 4 species and about the 6th or 7th state record for Massachusetts. 

Also present, a minimum of three Cackling Geese, two of which were fairly classic hutchinsii (Richardson's) but another was more ambiguous and I thought looked better for taverneri (Taverner's). More on that later once I've been through my images.

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