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Rare Pink-Footed Goose Seen in Lehigh Valley

The Lehigh Valley Audubon Society says the spotting of a rare goose at the quarry at Upper Macungie Park is 'a pretty big deal.'

 

A rare pink-footed goose that breeds in Greenland and winters in Europe has been spotted at the Fogelsville quarry, the Lehigh Valley Audobon Society says.

"The Audubon Community is buzzing about this...," member Lynn Serfass told Upper Macungie's Park Team Leader Jim Soltis.

"Pretty incredible." 

Scott Burnet, who chairs the Lehigh Valley Audubon Society's Habitat Development and Enhancement Committee, said Wednesday the goose was first spotted late last week at the quarry at Upper Macungie Park off Route 100 -- only the second recorded occurrence of the species in Lehigh County. (The first was in 2009 at Lake Muhlenberg in Allentown).

He said he was alerted to the sighting on Saturday, but did not see the pink-footed goose himself at the quarry until Monday.

"It's a pretty big deal," Burnet said.

Burnet said it's possible, but not likely, the migratory goose was blown off course and ended up at Upper Macungie Park off Route 100. He said it's more likely the species is extending its range to new areas, since it's a very strong flier and used to traveling long distances.

"These birds come here on purpose, for some reason," he said.

The local Audubon Society is thrilled with Upper Macungie park crews, who cleared back brush at the quarry last week, opening up views of birds on the water. The clearing made visible the north cove of the main quarry, where the Audubon Society says most of the rare waterfowl are spotted.

The Fogelsville quarry is considered one of the top 50 birding spots in the Lehigh Valley.

A pink-footed goose has a short bill, a bright pink middle with a black base and tip, and pink feet, according to Wikipedia. Its body is gray-brown and its head and neck are a darker brown.

Burnet said he spotted another one at Lake Muhlenberg in Allentown on Monday as well, the third recorded sighting. 

Burnet advises those who want to try to see the pink-footed goose at the Fogelsville quarry to get there by 8:30 a.m., before it flies off to feed with Canada geese. He said it's difficult to say how long the bird will be in Upper Macungie, since a pink-footed goose is used to really cold weather and a warming trend could have an impact. However, he said it's possible the bird could stay all winter.

The one spotted in 2009 stayed in the area a week, he said.

Word of the new sighting has been spreading, he said, and people from other states have been stopping by Upper Macungie to see it.

Have you seen the pink-footed goose? Share your photos.

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