Wednesday, November 25, 2015

MA - Thanksgiving Pink-footed Goose - 11/25/15

Status Update: So it's looking very much like this Pink-footed Goose was a one-day-wonder, a surprise to me and the many who searched for it in the following days. My comment on a "dozen or so birds" occurring in the state seems to have raised a few eyebrows and some believe that as few as six individuals have been recorded in Massachusetts. However, by trawling the web and communicating with some of the finders, I've found that my initial thoughts on occurrence in the state were not too far from being accurate, as follows:

Dates span Oct 20th through to March 31st;

1) One, Dennis, Barnstable Co.  Jan/Feb 1999. (D.Crockett et al). MARC website.

2) One, Falmouth, Barnstable Co. Jan 2009. (G. Hirth et al). MARC website.

3) One, Sudbury and Concord, Middlesex Co. Nov/Dec 2010. (MARC report 16).

4) One, Turner's Falls, Franklin Co. Oct 2011. (MARC report 16). 

5) One, Lynn, Essex Co. Dec 2011. (MARC report 17).

6) One, Rutland, Worcester Co. Dec 2011. (MARC report 17).

7) One, West Newbury, Essex Co. Oct 2012. (MARC report 17). 

8) One, Hatfield/Whateley, Franklin Co. and same Hadley, Hampshire Co. March 2014 (L. Therrien et al).

9) One, Longmeadow, Hampden Co. March 2014. (S. Moytl et al). Different to Hadley individual above. 

10) One, Turner's Falls, Franklin Co. Nov 2015. (J.P.Smith, B & N. Kane). 

All of these have been well documented with photos and some stayed long enough to be seen by many admirers. We still await a multiple occurrence in the state and on a personal level, I've already seen two Pink-footed Geese together in both Connecticut and Rhode Island. In addition to sourcing the MARC website and ebird, I'm also grateful to Kevin Bourinot and Larry Therrien for personal comments and the information that they kindly supplied. 

Conditions really felt good for an unusual goose at Turner's Falls today. A brief visit this morning saw flock after flock of Canada Geese dropping into the power canal, numbers easily approaching a thousand birds before I left to do errands around 10:00 hrs. Fortunately, I had another shot in late afternoon when I found even more Canada Geese present, perhaps 1200-1300 in all. Starting with the southern most group, I could hardly believe my luck when the very first bird that I checked in my spotting scope was a Pink-footed Goose! As it happens, our good friends Brian and Noel were also planning to visit the area in the afternoon and a quick text to let them know saw them scoping the bird not too long after it was first found.

Perhaps not the great rarity that it once was, it's still very rare in Massachusetts. Maybe a dozen or so birds have been found in the state including one at this exact location back in October 2011. I've also seen others in Concord (Dec 2010) and Hadley (March 2014) and I'm aware of at least four others scattered about the state though the Connecticut River Valley seems to be as good a place as any to look for this Old World goose.

Pink-footed Goose - Turner's Falls power canal, Franklin Co., MA. November 25th, 2015. 
My second at this location following a well photographed bird in late October 2011.