Saturday, December 27, 2014

Duke Island Park 12/27--Cackling Goose

It shouldn't be this hard to sweep the geese for New Jersey, but finally today, after looking through about 1000 Canada Geese
Try finding the Cackling Goose in this flock!
I was able to locate a Cackling Goose, thus ticking off every possible goose in the state for the year.  A couple of my fellow birders with scopes had the bird, though when I looked through the scope I didn't see a goose I could call, in good conscience, a cackler. Shari found one and said it was in the scope but again, it dipped it's head down and I didn't really want to call it. But miraculously, just as I was ready to bag it and leave, I the flock opened up, and there in a clearing was a substantially smaller goose, feeding vociferously. My first reaction was that it was one of the Greater White-fronted Geese we'd already seen because of it's size but that idea quickly evaporated and I was left with the Cackling Goose in my sights. That was quite a field of geese with 5 species in it: Canada Goose (obviously), at least one Cackling Goose (a picture would be too much to ask of the birding gods), the 2 Greater White-fronted Geese:
Greater White-fronted Goose, front & center
a Barnacle Goose, first record for Somerset County and my 2nd of the month (and year)
Barnacle Goose, behind front two Canada Geese
and one Snow Goose, which came in very handy today to use as a "birdmark" to find the other geese.
Snow Goose (center), Greater White-fronted Goose, extreme left front, Barnacle Goose to right of Snow Goose.
To round out the list of interesting birds today, we had a Common Raven fly over the field, croaking its distinctive vocalization. 

Our list for for 2 hours in the park, mostly spent scanning the baseball field:
Greater White-fronted Goose  2     
Snow Goose  1
Barnacle Goose  1     
Cackling Goose  1    
Canada Goose  1000
Great Blue Heron  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1     Heard
American Crow  2
Common Raven  1
Black-capped Chickadee  1
Tufted Titmouse  1     Heard
Carolina Wren  1     Heard
Eastern Bluebird  1     Heard
Northern Mockingbird  1
Northern Cardinal  1     On baseball field with geese
American Goldfinch  1     Heard

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