We’ve not been to Yarmouth since the car broke down on January 2nd, we don’t blame Yarmouth for the break down; we just haven’t had the time or inclination to head that way. A Pink-footed Goose changed that perspective, found by Rebecca Goreham on January-15th as it stood alongside the Greater White-fronted Goose on a ball field, it certainly fired local imaginations. The news actually broke as myself, Alix, Ronnie and Ervin were watching the Pubnico Thayer’s Gull. Ronnie and Ervin shot off for it, with positive results, and we (Sandra and I) ambled over the next day, finding it with Canada Geese off Milton Dam in Yarmouth Harbour.
Calls were made and people got onto it including ‘Goose’ MacDonald, the birder who no longer misses the geese. I don’t know whether that epithet will stick but it’s out there now! We then spent a further long time and a lot of kilometres trying to re-find it as the tide rose. We looked everywhere, three times and even went up Hardscratch Road to some fields that had previously attracted geese, no luck, sorry Johnny, Sandra, Alix, Paul, Laurel, Jason and Robert – we tried, we really did.
While in the area we had a look for Ervin’s White-crowned Sparrow – no not a new species you’ve never heard of, just a lone White-crowned Sparrow that was living on Churn Road, Overton for the winter and one needed for the winter list. This was the third attempt since it had been discovered and this time we were lucky. Some nice American Tree Sparrows were there too, a poorly named species really as they are a tundra edge breeder with scattered scrub – Tundra Sparrow anyone?
Not far from the sparrows this splendid Northern Harrier hunted. Usually these birds know you are there and drift away before you get the shots you’d hoped for, this time it did the opposite and the results were pleasing.
We finally gave up on the goose and headed home via Lower West Pubnico. Ronnie had found this Dovekie there so we enjoyed that, along with the Kumlien’s Gulls and a Nelson’s Gull – the product of a Glaucous and a Herring Gull tryst. The Thayer’s failed to show for Sandra, a Nova Scotia lifer had it appeared.
I ended the day with two winter ticks and four for the year making 102 so far. I’m sure birds will be added before the spring, I managed 117 last January so there is still a ways to go this month even. My next task is to find the right wardrobe so I can bird Narnia too, kidding!