On Saturday, Aidan Kiley and I witnessed a pretty amazing spectacle: five species of goose, all sharing the same pond. Perhaps in some parts of North America (California comes to mind), such an event is not that uncommon. But in any of the eastern states, an occurrence like this one is unheard of.
The pond in question is Broad Brook Millpond in East Windsor, Connecticut. The goose species: Cackling, Canada, Greater White-fronted, Pink-footed, and Ross’s. Add to this tally the Snow Goose and three Barnacle Geese seen on the pond just a week before, and you’re looking at unprecedented goose diversity. Sure cleans up the goose section of my eBird Needs Alerts!
Our trip up to the pond was precipitated by the finding of a Ross’s Goose by Paul Desjardins the day before. Ross’s would be a life bird for Aidan and a state bird for me, so just this bird alone would’ve been enough to ensure a three hour plus round trip chase. Add to that three other highly-desired goose species, and you have the makings for quite a day.
When all was said and done, we spent almost three hours with the geese, at two different locations: the aforementioned pond and a cornfield around two miles away where the flock goes to feed. Our initial looks at four of the species (not Cackling) were had in this field, before portions of the flock began erupting into the air and making their way toward the pond.
Once at the pond, we eventually notched the Cackling Goose (after lots of thorough scanning that started at the cornfield) and were able to put up to four species of goose in the same scope view.
All told, it was a pretty epic day, with a goose tally I’ll be hard pressed to match again in Connecticut.