Barnacle Goose at Ridgefield

Yesterday was my semi-annual tooth-cleaning appointment in Vancouver, and, as usual, I left at 6:00 to get some birding in before my lunch with old friends and my dental appointment.

Unfortunately it was dark and cold, but I was still enjoying rather common birds like this unusually aggressive Red-Winged Blackbird.

I loved this pose; hopefully the next time I see it it will be brighter so I can get a sharper image.

Red-Winged Blackbird

Luckily it seemed a little brighter when I sighted this pair of Green-Winged Teal,

pair of Green-Winged Teal

and these personal favorites, Northern Pintails,

two male Northern Pintails

sporting their two-toned bills, their subtle, pin-striping, and those long, elegant tails they’re named after.

I wasn’t ready, though, for this bird, the one with the solid white face:

Barnacle Goose

In fact, I didn’t recognize it, not surprising since it’s not in a single one of my small collection of bird books.

I stopped and asked the ranger if he knew what it was, and when I showed it to him he acted surprised and asked if I had really taken the picture there. He knew immediately it was a Barnacle Goose, commoner in the Norh East but rare here. In fact, he thought it was the first one ever sighted at Ridgefield. He jumped in his truck, drove the wrong way down the one-way road, and came back to confirm that was, indeed, a Barnacle Goose.

Cool. Nice way to start a long day.