For a province that already has multiple records each of ABA Area rarities Barnacle Goose and Pink-footed Goose on its provincial list, perhaps it’s a bit odd that birders on Nova Scotia have been so long in waiting for the province’s first Ross’s Goose. But they have to wait no longer as that long-awaited first record finally touched down at Hartlen Point Forces Golf Course just southeast of Halifax.
The bird was initially found by Mike King on December 31st among a flock of Snow Geese, and has been present every day since.
Ross’s Goose is primarily associated with the central flyway. The overwhelming majority of the population crosses the vast middle of the continent from nesting grounds almost exclusively in Nunavut to winter in parts of California, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and the Gulf Coast east to Louisiana. The population has increased in the last couple decades such that it is now an uncommon annual visitor to much of the east as well and can probably be considered at least semiregular as far north as the southern Quebec and New England. Even so, the species is still very unusual in the Atlantic provinces, and in addition to this Nova Scotia record there is one from St. John’s, Newfoundland, from Dec 2005-April 2006 and several from Prince Edward Island.