Sunday, December 13, 2009

Nice Weather For Ducks!

It's not been the most pleasant of weekends and the weather looks set to continue wet for at least another 24 hours. Alan Brady told me that several Common Eiders are hanging out at the concrete ship (along with some resting Bonaparte's Gulls), while a look out of the window at CMBO's Northwood Center revealed several newly-arrived ducks, including seven male and two female Ring-necked Ducks, four Hooded Mergansers and a smart male Redhead. The little pond on the corner of Stimpson and Shunpike, not far from The Beanery, has produced a few surprises in the last few days, including four Snow Geese, a Cackling Goose and four Hooded Mergansers. If you go looking for the Cackling Goose, be aware of at least three very small Canada Geese that I saw in the feeding flock at the Rea Farm today. Looking structurally just like Canada Geese, but noticeably much smaller, these are perhaps birds of the race parvipes (sometimes known as Lesser Canada Goose). Click on the picures for a larger version - excuse the poor quality, it was raining!!

The three small, juvenile Canada Geese at the Rea Farm. Compare the 'full-sized' bird on the right. The birds are aged as juvenile by the less-contrasting plumage, without the obvious pale edges and tips on the back and flanks of the adult on the right.

Close-up of one of the three small Canada Geese.

A Cackling Goose photographed at Cape May Point State Park in September this year. When compared with the presumed parvipes bird above, note the Cackling Goose's shorter bill and rather 'stubby' look with relatively shorter neck and legs.

If you're in the Cape May area in the next few days, keep an eye out for American Woodcock at sundown. We saw two last night on a short drive to an end-of-season get together, and finished the night to the sound of Snow Geese passing south in the dark. Winter is here - and the Christmas Count is looming on the horizon!

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