The first Pink-footed Goose in Massachusetts occurred less than 20 years ago, an individual that spent several months in Dennis from January 16 to April 11, 1999. Several more have been reported since then, but never as many as were seen during this reporting period. The first was discovered in West Newbury on November 6 and was seen in the same area until December 2. Presumably the same individual was regularly seen in Ipswich through the end of the month. On December 4, one was seen flying over Cape Cod, but was not relocated. Also on December 4, one was discovered at Cambridge Reservoir in Waltham, and presumably the same bird was relocated in Concord on the 7th and seen sporadically through the 15th. Connecticut River Valley birders weren’t left out, as a Pink-footed Goose was seen in the Hadley area December 6–19.
These geese were not the only exciting waterfowl. The Greater White-fronted Goose reports in Hampden, Southwick, and Agawam surely represented the same individual, and one reported from Amherst, although a significant distance away, appeared in a hiatus in sightings from farther south along the Connecticut River, so it was probably the same bird. On December 28 there was a report of two Ross’s Geese on Plum Island, but subsequent examination determined that one was a Snow x Ross’s Goose hybrid. A flock of 32 Brant flying over Quabbin Park was interesting. Cackling Geese were well reported during this period.
There was a time when Fresh Pond in Cambridge was one of the best places in the state to find Canvasbacks, with counts over 100 in the 1990s. Numbers have dwindled since then, with only one seen during this reporting period.