To my delight, Tim said yes. So he learned his geese, dipped on a snowy owl, and napped as I located the black headed gull. All, in all, a success of a day, as we got to lunch with one of our dear friends and her adorable family, beat the snow, and I got in a nap before a late night out, while we watched football.
Enjoy the sights:
|Around the base of its neck, some white feathers showed- a white ring around the neck is a typical cackling field mark.|
|Tim was not convinced I had the cackling, but was pretty proud to spot this oddity- a Canada goose showing piebald plumage on its neck and head.|
|I admit, he was pretty cool.|
|Then, my little goose showed face, a small, wedge-shaped bill confirmed a cackling goose.|
|The smallest cackling variety is about a 1/4 size of the largest variety of Canada goose.|
|I love this pink footed goose- I also love that in terms of viewing both this goose and the cackling goose are often within easily viewable range, no binoculars needed!|
|That's one check off our list, next stop was the West end of Jones Beach...|
|Jones Beach turned up empty for owls of any kind, but I did enjoy these "ipswich" savannah sparrows.|
|I am used to Savannahs being a bit darker- and upon first glance I identified them as Savannah, they just seemed slightly different- very light, with beautiful fine streaks.|
|Further down the jetty... binocular vision revealed something more than rocks.|
|Hundreds of dunlin just resting, safety in numbers- especially as peregrine falcons have their eyes out for these guys.|
|At the coast guard station, we were greeted with a black scoter.|
|Both common (this guy) and red-throated loons were out on the water.|
|Herring gull before leaving. |
I love that Tim let me go to our third and final spot, Cammann's Pond in Merrick...
|What I really loved about Cammann's Pond was that it was a huge roosting place for black-crowned night herons, I spied at least 20, immature and adults hidden among the tangles near the shorelines all around the pond.|
|But what I really came to see...|
|A black headed gull had been hanging out here for some time now. Figured I'd get to see and admire him for my 2017 list.|
|Whats in a name?|
Well, during breeding season, their plumage is quite different- as these birds don a black head, as their name suggests. But winter plumage, it's not necessary. Instead, just some small wisps of black remain.
|This bird is also noticeably smaller than the numerous ring-billed gulls on the pond and unlike them has red-orange legs and bill.|