While in Texas a Ross's Goose was reported last weekend on Hiawatha Lake in Minneapolis. I didn't pay much attention since I figured it would leave before I came home. A quick glance at the Minnesota birding listservs showed that it was still around.
Non Birding Bill and I were heading out of town today to hang with Lorraine and some ten year old girls around a big ole bonfire so we headed over to Hiawatha before we hit the highway. I knew this was a gamble because bringing NBB can often mean the bird will have just left ten minutes before we get there, but I risked it. We got to Hiawatha and I saw a flock of geese out on the water. We parked and as I was grabbing my scope from the back seat NBB said, "Is that white thing it?" I turned around and saw a large lump flapping away from the lake and out of view onto the neighboring golf course. It was chunky and flapping like a goose. I was sure that was in fact "it" and NBB was ready to go on our way, since we saw the bird. But to my rules of bird counting I couldn't accept that. At that distance I wouldn't have known whether it was a snow goose or a Ross's goose. The only reason I knew it was Ross's was because it had been reported there this morning and snow geese are few and far between in the Twin Cities.
So I headed over to a couple of people who looked like birders to get the scoop. Sure enough it was the Ross's goose that we saw flying away but we were informed that if we drove around the golf course we could probably find it grazing. We started driving around the golf course and sure enough there was a white blog mixed in with a bunch of Canada geese. The interesting thing was that NBB took over setting up the scope and getting the camera adapter on for digiscoping. I almost didn't have a chance to get to the scope to see the bird. Of course, this bird does fall into the catagory of intereseting birds for NBB to see: big, obvious, easy to see, and ten minutes from home. I eventually did get a chance at the scope and could see why this was a Ross's goose and not a snow goose by the shape of the face and the size of the bill in relation to the head. Now it was officially countable in my rules.
So, a life bird for me. I know I said that I was going to start keeping a list to find out how many are on it, but I can't bring myself to sit down and do it. Now off to a big bonfire and partying with Lorraine and a bunch of ten year old girls. Whoot.