Thursday, October 8, 2015

MA - October: Cackling Goose still around

October has always been a special month for me. Whether it be searching for rare migrants on some remote windswept headland in the UK, or scouring 'oases' for Siberian/Asian waifs in the extreme deserts of southern Israel, and now watching for just about anything amid the beautiful fall foliage of New England, the month always brings a welcome sense of anticipation. In the last few years, the New England states have produced a succession of mid-October 'mega-rarities' ranging from shorebirds such as Gray-tailed Tattler, Wood Sandpiper and European Golden Plover through toultra-rare migrants such as Brown-chested Martin. Of course, the coast catches most of these vagrants but even for interior birders (such as myself), it's always worth keeping an open mind, amply demonstrated by the Pink-footed Goose that showed up at Turner's Falls in October 2011. At the time, it was just the fourth state record. 'Lesser' rarities such as Northern Wheatear, Say's Phoebe and Scissor-tailed Flycatcher have all appeared in or near the Pioneer Valley in the last few years and could show up again and it's the potential promise of birds like these that inspire many a good field outing in October.

After a chilly start to the month with winds in the northern quarter, we seem to have settled into a High Pressure system bringing cool, foggy starts and beautiful, sunny, autumnal days - wonderful to be outside but hardly the weather for producing a more interesting range of species.

Surprisingly, last month's Cackling Goose continues to stick around with a small group of Canada Geese now frequenting Barton Cove in Gill after the recent draining (temporary) of the Turner's Falls power canal. It was re-located on October 5th by when Eric Houston found it along with a Greater White-fronted Goose off Riverview Drive.

 Cackling Goose - Barton Cove, Gill, Franklin Co., MA. October 8th, 2015.

 Cackling Goose - Barton Cove, Gill, Franklin Co., MA. October 7th, 2015.

Cackling Goose - Barton Cove, Gill, Franklin Co., MA. October 7th, 2015.

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