Monday, November 9, 2009

Quest for a Pink-footed Goose...

After birding three areas on Saturday, I decided not to make the run to Montauk, Long Island for the reported "Yellow billed Loon" and instead headed out for an all day vigil at Sunken Meadow State Park in Suffolk County, Long Island NY, in the hopes of landing the Pink-footed Goose. This bird, after a few days of no shows, was seen flying in around 3:10 p.m. on Saturday. Birds, tend to stick to a pattern once established; however, I was taking no chances, so I got to SMSP around 8:45 a.m. and spent the day there birding and checking out every flock of geese that I came upon. The weather was nice and I birded the park picking up a few birds including my first of the season Purple Finch and a year high count of 56 Fish Crows.

The Pink-footed Goose apparently stuck to its pattern and arrived on schedule flying in with a flock around 3:05 p.m.; that flock, also included the Barnacle goose that was reported with it a few days ago. Having already seen the Barnacle, at Sunken Meadows on November 4th, I was focusing on getting the Pink-footed.

A group of birders from Ithaca spotted the flock when it came in and decided to try for looks into the creek as there was no view of the bird from the bridge once it landed in the creek. Thanks to Tom Johnson, I joined them and we headed north of the bridge over the creek, then walked about 120 yards west heading towards the golf course. Near a Park sign, we found an opening into the shrubs/wooded area and from there we walked to the edge. There was a slight opening that gave us a view into the back of the creek and it was there that we had looks at the Pink-footed and brief looks at the Barnacle. I called a few people on my cell who were in the park to get the word spread on where we were looking at the goose, but only one person, Claude Bloch, answered his phone. After several dropped calls and missteps, Claude found us and he was able to get on the bird. I think there were many people ruing not answering their phones that afternoon. It was hard trying to get a decent photograph of the bird as the phragmites got in the way, but here are a couple of digiscoped ones. I am not sure how many Pink-footed have been reported in NY, but this species is considered a vagrant in North America, and should instead be in Europe. This makes it even more special!

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1 comment:

LadyWoodpecker said...

Great post, Andrew. I LOVE your opening photo (with the crow on the 'Reserved Parking' sign). A great day, you had!