Ross’s Goose

Ross’s Goose

It’s now been six weeks since my fall which precipitated four painful shoulder separations and things continue to improve.   I can now use my right arm to do most daily activities, unfortunately many of them still hurt like the dickens.

For instance, I pick and choose when to raise my binoculars up to my eyes . . . as it can really hurt.  Holding my 6 pound camera steady on a bird is even more challenging.

All that said, it’s great to be out in the field and the bird gods rewarded me this week with several exciting sightings.

My physical therapy appointments are scheduled for 6:30 am, and I go birding after the therapist finishes twisting and yanking on my shoulder.

After Monday’s torture session, I drove over to Sabattus Lake in central Maine to check out the migrating water fowl that usually stop there.  I proceeded to spend most of my 90 minute visit staring at one reddish bird swimming with three American Wigeons.  Finally I decided I was looking at a rare Eurasian Wigeon.  

Eurasian Wigeon


Excitedly I sent my photo to a couple of the State’s Birding experts.  

  • The Good News:  I had found a Eurasian Wigeon
  • The Bad News:  One of the experts had seen the same bird on Saturday (in a different part of the lake), but hadn’t publicized it because he had seen it from a “NO TRESPASSING” area.   Birders love to “self find” a rarity and I guess technically someone else had found the Eurasian Wigeon first. (#$@!% #$@!%)

Yesterday, I drove two hours to Bangor, hoping to see a rare Snow Goose being accompanied by an incredibly rare Ross’s Goose that had been seen in a cornfield.  When I arrived, a dozen birders were scoping the field with not a goose in sight.

After an hour of fruitless searching, I drove over to the University of Maine Campus and visited Littlefield Gardens,  where a wide variety of crabapple trees have been known to attract birds.

There I found, a flock of 60+ Bohemian Waxwings, a bird that occassionaly strays out of Canada into Maine.  Each year I see Bohemians once, sometimes twice . . .  to see sixty of them was remarkable.

Bohemian Waxwings
Bohemian waxwings

On the way home, I decided to check the cornfields again and to my surprise, the Ross’s and Snow Geese were right next to the road . . . it a perfect place to photograph them.  I was the only birder there . . . the rest had sensibly gone home . . . but I quickly put the word out on the internet and the folks began arriving 15 minutes later . . . excited to see the first Ross’s Goose in Maine since 2015.

Ross’s Goose (R) and Snow Goose (L)

This morning after PT, I stopped at the local grocery store to pick up dinner and weaved my Subaru through the usual array of Ring-billed and Herring Gulls that seem to love parking lots.  It was then that a nearly all white gull caught my eye.  The usual “parking lot gulls” all have black on their wing-tips, but this one was uniformly white.  S00000000 . . . I then spent 20 minutes zipping back and forth across the the grocery store parking lot . . . dodging pregnant women and little old men with their carts and bags . . . as I tried to get close to the mystery gull.  Finally it landed on a light post and sure enough, it was an Iceland Gull . . . my first one of the year.

Iceland Gull

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