A Four Goose Day

I wasn’t planning on going birding today since I’ve got a deadline rolling up on me in just two days, but what can you do when a potential life bird shows up almost in your back yard? You chase it, of course. However today was unusual not just for the life bird. This is my first ever four goose day, and possibly the second ever four goose day in Prospect Park (the first being yesterday).

You see, there’s only one species of goose that’s regular in the park, Canada Goose. That’s an easy bird. There are over hundred, sometimes over 200, here year round; but there’s no other goose you can count on, not even for the year, much less the day. Two other species are not surprising, Snow Goose and Brant. However both are just occasional. Neither is a guaranteed bird for the year in the park. For instance, we missed Snow Goose in 2004. (That still galls me. It would have been our 200th bird for the year. I am sure there was at least one snow geese flock flying over the park sometime in 2004, and just nobody was looking up at the right time.)

But today the stars (or at least the geese) aligned. Simultaneously on the lake we had not one, not two, not three, but four separate species of geese at the same time! This is more than we get most years. The usual Canadas were out in the hundreds. The Snow Goose that was found on the Christmas Count last year was still hanging around. (This bird’s unusually unafraid of people for its species. Most Snow Geese are much more skittish.) A flock of 26 or so Brant that flew in on Friday was still on the lake, and the piece de resistance: a Cackling Goose! Possibly the first ever in the Park.

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