Monday, January 2, 2012

Cackling Geese in NJ

A slower start to Jan 2nd had me in search of yet more winter special birds to pad the year list. I picked up Common Merganser at Mercer County Park at the marina but not much else was there. Then I wandered north to Negri-Nepote Grasslands and saw almost nothing there except a large extended flock of American Robins headed south - several hundred of them spread over many miles in loose association.

Then it was time for geese, albeit via an unsuccessful search for Sandhill Cranes in Franklin Twp (they're there, but often elusive). At Dukes Island Park in Bridgewater the large flock of Canadas at the pond and adjacent field held a lot of Cackling - I was scanning for the Greater White-fronted but kept coming up with Cacking: first one, then two, then a group of 6, then 4 more etc. I figured out I had at least 12 and perhaps 15 or more. A total of 33 was reported from that site during the day, and they were pretty much every where I looked. Finally the Greater White-fronted was found.

2pm now, and there was just enough light to sprint for the final special bird of the day: Snowy Owl in western NJ that I found in it's usual roosting place on the dam as the light started to fade. Combined with a few fly-by Snow Geese at an otherwise quiet reservoir this propelled the 2012 year list to 46 in the first two days. Not a bad total.

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