Saturday searching

This saturday was full of searching. In the morning I had junior staff, a science program of volunteers at Earthplace Nature center in Westport. Deterred by the lack of people here today it was not very busy, but still we had some things to do. After a small task of organizing the specimen room we went down to the pond to see how things were doing. The pond was frozen solid, and to test its thickness we used some old methods, which resulted in some awkward positions. After some stick poking and rock throwing we figured it was 2 inches thick, much thicker than we had thought, as today was much warmer than the past week.

Then we set off to see if we could find a deer hunter who had been illegally hunting on the property. We searched for clues, which we found very discretely- a string from a gilly suit, baited deer scat, some bloody deer hairs, and off the property something that looked like a small tent. It was a long search but we managed to find evidence!

At Earthplace the only birds were the resident flock of 8 Black Vultures.

Zack measures the ice - while risking being plunged into the icy water!



A hunters camp?

Black vultures are very tame wild residents of Earthplace.


Soon my dad picked me up and we went to go twitch the Barnacle Goose at Longshore Country Club, which is right up the road from Earthplace. I was hopeful, as Barnacle Goose was  my nemesis bird. But again, nothing. All was not lost, though! There were Snow Geese, and I was thrilled to find my first Cackling Goose amongst a large flock of canadas. It was much smaller, with a stubbier bill and dark breast. Overall, they are much different than a canada.

Two adult Snow Geese and a darker juvenile.

A Cackling goose among lots of Canadas.

Another Cackling Goose picture. See the small size and dark breast?

So a I learned a lesson today. Searching for one rare bird may turn up another!

2 responses to “Saturday searching

  1. Alex-

    The two things that pointed me to Cackling were the size and the breast shades. In Sibley it says Lesser Canadas are about 36 inches long, only about 10 inches less than a normal Canada.
    The bird I saw was about half the size of the Canadas around it. Was this the same on the bird you saw at Longshore too?

    And the breast- as you can see in the pics., there are is no paleness on the breast except for a barely visible white line just below the neck. Lesser, from what I know, have a pale breast with a much more visible white line.

    Those are the 2 main things besides little things like bill length and neck length. But you definitely are right- Lesser Canada is always a possibility.
    You got some really nice shots of the probable Cackling by the way, as well as the snow geese and Barnacle. Hope to go Birding with you soon.
    – Brendan

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