I’m going to try something new here: a “Photo of the Week.” When I started this blog, the idea was tell only my most exceptional stories of natural history. I thought that by going with quality over quantity I would avoid overloading readers. But by writing for The Prairie Ecologist, I’ve seen that weekly photos with short stories behind them can be a very popular way to keep readers up to date. So here you have it, my first “Photo of the Week.”
When you’re a birder, seeing a species for the first time is an triumphant experience. There aren’t too many species that I haven’t seen in Nebraska, and I certainly didn’t expect to find one in February. However, the story of this lifer is a little embarrassing. During the last month waterfowl migration has been building. The flocks of geese passing overhead have grown from dozens, to hundreds, to thousands of individuals. Two weekends ago I finally made time to try photographing them, and as a flock of Canada Geese flew over I heard a high, squeaky call coming from one of the birds. I had been hearing this strange call on occasion for at least a month, but I just assumed it was coming from Cackling or Snow Geese. Nope. It wasn’t until I had the culprit in my camera’s viewfinder that I realized that it was coming from a species I had never seen: Greater White-fronted Geese! I’ve learned my lesson, I’ll start paying closer attention!