A Ross's Goose was photographed on the western bank of the Connecticut River in mid-March. This has been a good winter for this diminutive goose, with records in January and February in Marblehead and Plum Island, respectively. In contrast, despite being reported in three counties in March, this has been a poor winter for Greater White-fronted Goose. The species was unrecorded in April for the first time since 2012.
Brant is a familiar visitor to our winter shores. The pale-bellied hrota subspecies breeds on Baffin Island and neighboring eastern Nunavut Province and winters on the Atlantic Coast south to the Carolinas. The less familiar nigricans or "Black Brant" breeds in northwestern Canada and Alaska and winters on the Pacific coast and is a rare visitor to Massachusetts. Black Brant has a much darker belly than hrota with a more prominent white neck collar. This year up to two birds were photographed between April 18–19 at Plymouth Beach. While currently a subspecies, Black Brant may be a future candidate for full species status. Genetic analysis suggests that hrota and nigricans are more distinct from each other than, for example, Ross's and Snow geese.