Birds fly. Well, duh!
Because of this special talent they really can go almost anywhere and sometimes they end up in places a long way from their traditional range. And when this happens, the bird-watching community scrambles to see the out-of-place wanderer to add it to their life lists, a coveted accounting of all the different species a birder sees in their lifetime. And a brant (Branta bernicla), a smallish northern goose, is rarely seen this far south and inland.
Brants nest in northern Canada and they migrate in winter to the Atlantic seaboard and saltwater estuaries from New England south to the Outer Banks. They are only rarely seen inland on freshwater, even more rarely seen in the Tennessee Valley, even odder still, on the campus of Pellissippi State Community College in Hardin Valley. Why so public a place? No one knows.
The wanderer was first noticed by Terry Crowe, Deputy Chief of the campus police on November 14. Crowe is originally from Maryland and knew exactly what the odd small dark goose was. The nomad seemed quite comfortable with the college's resident Canada goose and muscovy population. (The smallish brant is hanging out with much larger Canada geese.)
Rachael Eliot and I saw the brant last Saturday as did Ijams volunteer Nick Stahlman and Jason and Charlotte Dykes.
This is reminiscent of last July when Starbuck got bird #149. Click: roseate spoonbill.
- Thanks for the brant photos Jason and for the information Terry.
|Size comparison: Cell phone photo of brant in foreground |
with larger Canada geese.