The Pink Feet (video)

Andy McGann|

Pink-footed Goose (Anser brachyrhynchus)

On Novemeber 29th, I met up with Tom Johnson and his girlfriend & hawk counter extraordinaire, Melissa Roach, for our pursuit of THE Pink-footed Goose (Anser brachyrhynchus) that had been found by August Mirabella at Pine Run Reservoir, in Bucks County, PA.

We arrived on-site at mid-afternoon, on a dreary day with rain coming, and we were the only birders on scene at the time.

“I have the bird!” Melissa said, and Tom and I caught our breath…

Pink-footed Goose (Anser brachyrhynchus)

Pink-footed Goose (Anser brachyrhynchus) at Pine Run Reservoir, Bucks County, PA 11/29/2011

This species, typically found overwintering in Scotland & England, was a lifer for Melissa and I. For Tom it was almost as significant, one of those “better view desired” situations.

“OH NO!!” I replied, over-dramatically & fully in jest (because it’s unnecessary for a positive ID). “HOW WILL WE SEE THE PINK FEET WITH IT SWIMMING?!?!”

I started shooting video clips of ‘The Bird’ with my new Canon PowerShot ELPH 300HS, shooting the same 120 frames-per-second slow-motion clips that I used for the White Ibis. The slow-motion has the added advantage of reducing the shaking effect from hand-holding the little digital camera up to the 30x eyepiece of my Kowa spotting scope. Some of the shaking was due to the Lifer Effect. Some of it might have been the caffeine…

We noticed that the Pink Foot was spending an inordinate amount of time bathing and preening.

Well, my tongue-in-cheek distress over NOT seeing the famous pink feet was soon allayed by this bird’s vigorous bathing behavior!

After my first foray into the realm of home-movie-editing with the iMovie application, I present without further adieu, THE famous pink feet:

Pink-footed Goose’s pink feet (view on YouTube) by Andy McGann


About the Author

Andy McGann

Birding since the young age of 10, Andy has an M.S. in biology from the College of William and Mary. His graduate work included a thesis on the winter ecology of Rusty Blackbirds and projects on the movement of toxic mercury pollution through a riparian food web in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Prior to that, he earned a B.S. in biology and an environmental studies concentration from Villanova University, with undergraduate research projects on Black-capped and Carolina Chickadee hybridization and the conservation of the potentially-extinct Cozumel Thrasher in Mexico. In the past 12 years, Andy has worked on many projects in several states, including the Second Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Atlas project, Northern Goshawk surveys in Idaho, Canada Warblers nesting in Vermont, and environmental consulting in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Nebraska. Andy was also the first recipient of the Ned Smith Center's saw-whet owl banding internship.

A top-notch birder, he once placed second in the World Series of Birding with Drew Weber, Mike Lanzone, and other members of the PA Breeding Bird Atlas point count survey crew. He has enjoyed leading birding tours for the Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel) organization, in Cape Charles, Virginia and the Great Dismal Swamp. He serves on the board of the Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology and is an active committee member with his local land conservancy.

Andy currently works for Cellular Tracking Technologies, a communications technology company founded to serve the needs of wildlife researchers and conservationists. CTT specializes in machine-to-machine communications hardware and software solutions for low-cost worldwide data delivery via global cellular networks. Lightweight, solar-powered, energy-thrifty, and rugged, these devices are attached to wild animals and high-value assets for long-term remote GPS tracking. At CTT, Andy applies his ornithological expertise, love of technology, and appreciation for geography to help wildlife researchers and organizations around the world obtain the GPS tracking information they need.