Sunday, February 17, 2008

GBBC Notes

Yesterday I was up in Hunterdon County and saw a Barnacle Goose at Califon. This goose had previously been reported on JerseyBirds. The species is a major rarity for North America. It breeds in the European Arctic and normally winters in northern Europe. Bird guides state that most individuals of this species roaming in North America are of captive origin, but that some are wild birds. I am not sure how one would distinguish between the two except for obvious things like clipped flight feathers or bands around the neck or legs. The individual in Califon showed none of those things. Assuming that it is a wild bird, this Barnacle Goose is a life bird - the fifth for 2008 (or fourth, depending on who is counting).

The Barnacle Goose is a really beautiful bird, so it is worth seeing even if the NJ Records Committee does not accept the sighting.

Also, since Rob asked for it, I added the sighting to the Great Backyard Bird Count for 2008.

I have further comments up on the GBBC blog.