A few days ago, a couple birders found a brant on Conneaut Lake in Crawford County, Pennsylvania. There has been a recent influx of brant to the region in the past couple weeks with some being seen as flybys in Ohio, a flyby flock in Erie, PA, and a single bird which set up shop on a lake just over the border from me in Ohio, so this newly found bird fit the trend well and when it was found during the school week, I started to make plans to give chase this weekend. Around the same time however, news broke that the brant which had been hanging around in Ohio, had been shot by hunters, who had possibly heard of it from birding listservs. So it was with a renewed sense of urgency that I started the two hour drive north on Sunday. It turns out I needn’t have worried.
Within 60 seconds of arriving at the lake, the goose had been spotted, and it spent the next half hour or so grazing and paddling around within 20 feet of me, seemingly not caring about anyone or anything. A not so subtle reminder that one of the few things better than seeing a rare bird is crushing one.
Most of the rest of the day was spent getting my duck fix at some nearby ponds and lakes. Despite the double digit duck species and passing 100 species for Crawford County, the post-brant highlight was watching the acrobatics of 40 or so Bonaparte’s gulls as they fished. This time of year, when Bonies come through, is one of my favourite parts of migration. I literally will never get tired of photographing the tiny gulls and I seem to take way too many photos every time. Today I took a couple hundred. Naturally.