Barnacle Goose has been on my radar as a Fairfield birder for a couple of years now, beginning with the banded Scottish bird in Westport a few years back. That bird never made it across the border, but the saga of Westport Barnacle Geese continued last week, when one was found at Burying Hill Beach. James Purcell and I made a quick check of the Fairfield Country Club this past Sunday, hoping the bird had crossed the border, but unfortunately came away with nothing to show for our efforts.
My dreams became reality yesterday, however, when Frank Mantlik discovered the Barnacle Goose at the Fairfield Country Club, among a large flock of Canada Geese. I raced over there as soon as I heard the news, but it was unfortunately too dark for me to pick the bird out amongst the throngs of Canadas from my viewing location across Southport Harbor.
Today, just as the light was fading, I made another stab at the Barnacle Goose, and was finally able to catch up with it. The bird was hanging out with a nice flock of around 500 Canada Geese on the iced-over harbor, and spent most of its time sitting (including sleeping) on the ice, only standing and looking around briefly.
It was a real treat to finally catch up with this bird in Fairfield. Barnacle Goose might just be my favorite goose I’ve ever seen, and will enjoy a hard-won place on my Fairfield Town List, one that receives a new addition far too infrequently.
In addendum: Barnacle Goose will join a nice list of goodies found by scoping the Country Club grounds in the past, including Snow Goose, American Golden-Plover and Buff-breasted Sandpiper.