This week’s photo, taken January 2, 2016 from the Edmonds Pier in Edmonds, WA, features a couple of BRANT, a common wintering goose in the Puget Sound area.

Have you ever had this happen? You’re looking at a bird, and while you’re trying to figure out what species it is, a total stranger appears out of nowhere and calls out the name of the bird for you. I’ve experienced that a few times. I usually appreciate the unsolicited help, but the most recent incident was strange, confusing, and then finally amusing.

Early yesterday morning, while I was unloading my camera and spotting scope from my car in the parking lot by the Edmonds pier, a flock of geese flew by, directly above my head. As I cranked my head back to look at the fast moving birds, I figured they were probably Canada Geese. Another common goose this time of year is Brant, but I think these were Canada Geese.

As I watched them fly by, from the far end of the parking lot a female voice loudly called out, “BRANT!”

I didn’t immediately look at the person who was identifying the geese. I continued to stare at the soon to be out of sight geese, while I wondered how that person could be so certain about her identification.

Then she said it again, even louder than the first time: “BRANT!!”

When I turned my focus to the woman, she was not a birder with binoculars hanging from her neck; she was a runner. She jogged past me without even giving me a glance; she crossed the street and approached a male runner on the sidewalk.

Sounding a bit agitated, she said, “Brant. Where WERE you? I was looking all over for you.”

What were the odds that the guy’s name would be Brant? And what were the chances that the woman would yell his name at the very instant that I was watching a flock of geese overhead. Wow. Events do not always play out in the way that we think they should.

But, I still think they were Canada Geese.

Cards and prints for the new year:


About Joe Sweeney

I photograph birds to share the beauty and wonder I find in nature.
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2 Responses to BRANT!

  1. Chris says:

    Maybe she was saying Brent, a more likely name. It was funny, tho. My Brant story happened like this: I registered for WFO several years in San Rafael, CA, by myself as Jim was busy with work. My first field trip was a pelagic out of Bodega Bay, so I arrived in Oakland the day before, rented a car and drove the long way up to Bodega Bay. I had a motel reserved a mile from the pier. In the morning I drove to the pier only to find nobody there, and a sign saying the pelagic was cancelled due to seas being too rough. So I had nowhere to go and nothing to do that morning, nobody waiting for me at the conference hotel. I noticed that the property just south of the motel was some kind of park or preserve with some trails, so I decided to just walk the trails for a few hours before driving back. The trail led to the beach, and as I stood looking at the surf, a Brant swam ashore. Amazingly, I recognized what it was. This was many years earlier than our move to Los Osos. At that time, I had only seen a Brant once or twice during the annual Winter Bird Festivals which we had been attending since 2003. Now I see dozens of them all winter, but then I was quite pleased that I could ID the bird. I would have liked to call out, “Brant!” but there was no one else on the beach to hear it.

  2. Connie Saunders says:

    Thanks for the morning laugh — good story!



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