Cackling Goose 12/13/14

Cackling Goose among Canada Geese. Blue Chip Farm, Ulster County NY, 12/13/14/.
Cackling Goose among Canada Geese. This bird was quite distant and this photo has been heavily cropped. Blue Chip Farm, Ulster County NY, 12/13/14/.

This afternoon I was sifting through a flock of Canada Geese at Blue Chip Farms in Ulster County and I observed the above bird, which I believe is a Cackling Goose. The bird was a shade paler than the surrounding Canada Geese, with a small stubby bill, and a shorter neck. I am having a little hesitation in positively identifying this bird because although the bird was smaller than the Canada Geese, it did not appear to be as small as some Cackling Geese that I have seen in the past. According to the Crossley Guide, “Most look small and cute compared to Canada Geese, but this is not always the case”. I believe that this bird falls into the latter category. If anyone has thoughts about this bird, please comment.

I did some other running around today, particularly looking for the Snow Geese that I’d seen fly over last night. I didn’t have any luck with them, but I did get some photos along the way:

Red-tailed Hawk in Goshen NY, 12/13/14.
Red-tailed Hawk in Goshen NY, 12/13/14.
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Horned Larks in the black dirt. There was a single Snow Bunting with these birds but I was unable to get a photo. 12/13/14.

I spent the afternoon and evening at the Shawangunk Grasslands, which were a little quieter than last weekend. I still had several Rough-legged Hawks and Northern Harriers. When I left at 4:30 the Short-eared Owls were still not up. Here’s one shot I got of a young harrier:

Northern Harrier in flight. This was taking as I walked the trail rather than when I was in the blind. I was a little unlucky today, while I was in the blind I did not have any birds come close by. Shawangunk Grasslands NWR, 12/13/14.
Northern Harrier in flight. This was taking as I walked the trail rather than when I was in the blind. I was a little unlucky today, while I was in the blind I did not have any birds come close by. Shawangunk Grasslands NWR, 12/13/14.

And one more shot of the Cackling Goose:

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2 thoughts on “Cackling Goose 12/13/14”

  1. Matt,
    You’re looking to hard at the bird, this happens. Just take a look at the regular Canada Geese in the background. The size difference and head and bill shape are diagnostic. Nice find, John

    1. Thanks John. I have them in the past and had no doubts, but this one made me think a bit, maybe because it was quite distant. Thanks for the confirmation. Matt

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