Our annual late winter waterfowl chase was scheduled for February 20. We usually travel to Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Lebanon and Lancaster Counties, Pennsylvania. We hope to hit the peak of the Snow Goose migration.
Several days before, word got to the birders about a Pink-footed Goose being seen at a small city park in a residential area of Lancaster city.
We all agreed to try for this, because it would be a life bird for everyone in our group. Arriving in good time, we met several birders on a dike saying, “It was seen yesterday, but not today!”
We all know wild birds are not in cages; they can come and go as they please. Our consolation was finding several Ross’s Geese and a Cackling Goose mixed in the flock of Snows.
A week later the Pink-footed Goose reappeared at Wood’s Edge Park. We couldn’t resist the urge to try again. After all, this elusive goose nests in Iceland and eastern Greenland, and migrates south through Europe into Africa for the winter. Wood’s Edge Park is a little bit closer than those places.
This time, in perhaps twenty seconds, our son David spotted the goose swimming within fifty feet of where we stood gawking.
While we watched this rarity, the bird raised its pink webbed foot and scratched the side of its face! Now that was neat!