Saturday, January 5, 2013

Wild Goose Chase in the Bronx...

Third time was the charm for me as I dragged my friend Andria who had to put up with a not so upbeat birder as I fretted about getting too late of a start.  When I got to the Van Cortlandt Park Parade Grounds around 10:20 a.m., I was dismayed to see the field devoid of Geese.  Not again I thought, as dark clouds gathered over my head.  Gathering myself because by then I had gotten all the fretting out of the way, I relaxed and decided that we would spend some time birding the field and lake.  Then I heard the honking of Geese and thought that it came from the Lake.

Cackling Goose 1st of Two we found on Saturday January 5th 2013.
I thought it was much too late for the birds to be on the lake, but I was hopeful and headed over to the lake.  A quick glance through opening in the trees that lined the lake found lots of Geese on the pond.  Oh goodie, at least I had birds to look through even if I did not feel lucky to get the now "elusive" Barnacle Goose.  We got near the lake and I got us into a spot that offered some view, but kept us hidden from the Geese, since I did not want to spook the flock and they seemed quite excited.  It took about 15 minutes of sifting through the flock when I spotted a Cackling Goose.  I was excited, we had nailed a Cackler and there was still a whole lot more Geese to go through.  What else might we find? Ten minutes later, I spotted the Barnacle Goose lazily swimming and getting lost amongst the Canada's.  SWEET!!!  I got Andria on both birds who was quite happy at seeing them, but I sensed she was more relieved that I was back to being my HAPPY self.

Barnacle Goose tried to hide but this time I got a look.
As long as there are birds, I am happy and was even more so when Andria on her own tracked down and picked out the Cackling Goose who had disappeared and shown up again.  We continued searching through the flock and I found a second Cackling on the far side of the lake.  It lacked the "stand out" white ring at the base of the black neck stocking that the first Cackler had.  To be sure, I had a second Cackler, I had Andria on task watching the first Cackler we had found while I studied the second making sure, that we were not trying to turn one bird into two.  By then, the Geese had begun to disperse and we counted ourselves quite lucky to have not only seen the Barnacle but to pick out 2 Cackling from the flock.

2nd Cackling Goose on the far ice at Van Cortlandt Park Lake
We followed the flock onto the Parade Grounds and stayed at a respectable distance watching the flock, while continuing to study them.  We met and had a nice conversation with whom I learned later to be Jesse Jaycox and Andrew Block.  We also helped other birders including Saul (forgot your last name) to get good scope looks at the Barnacle and aided a couple of photographers to find the bird.  When we finally left, we estimated the flock to be well over 2000 Geese and the Barnacle and Cacklers were still on the field.  It turned out to be a worthwhile Wild Goose Chase after all!!

Close up of a Cackling Goose.

Cackling with Canada's in the background.
Tags: , , Share with Bookmark and Share


Laurence Butler said...

Nice work! Sweet shots of the Cackling Geese too. I wonder when Maniacal Geese will visit the U.S. this winter?

Ms. Hetty Mae said...

Nice! I always wanted to see a barnacle goose! I was really excited the time I saw a brandt when I lived in RI. Very exciting! I am going looking for razorbills after work today if it isn't raining.

Sheila Brown said...

Awesome blog! I love watching all types of birds, but geese are one of my favorites! We have more of the Greater Canada Geese here in Southern Oklahoma. I would love to find a Barnacle Goose,I have never seen one in the wild. Great hub, I liked this! :)