It’s nice when state lifers show up an hour’s drive away. It seems to be a continuing theme this winter. I wonder what’s going to show up next? The question is…did I see a state lifer this afternoon in Jackson County, Florida? I think so. What do you think?
Pam Overmeyer found 4 very small Canada Geese, which she presumed to be Cackling Geese, on Friday and submitted the record to eBird which in turn alerted the masses….well a few of us anyway! She found them late afternoon frequenting a pond in front of the Apalachee Correctional Institute (that’s a fancy name for a Jail) outside of Sneads in Jackson County.
Enthused by the positive news from Bob Wallace, who traveled from Gainesville to seen them mid-morning, Elliot and I accompanied by baby Will took leave of our other half’s and twitched said geese this afternoon. They were pretty easy to find and yes, as Pam had stated, they were pretty small. Their bills were small and stubby and they had quite broad white bars on the wing coverts, a pale gray neck and they were much smaller than the resident Canada’s they were hanging out with.
So based on my terrible pictures, digiscoped from about 200yds away, what do you think? Are they Richardson’s Cackling or are they Lesser Canada’s? David Sibley wrote a very interesting article about this complex identification challenge. http://www.sibleyguides.com/2007/07/identification-of-cackling-and-canada-goose/
I’m obviously in the Cackling camp and based on what I saw I think they are Richardson’s Cackling Geese.
Anyway we then headed to Sneads Park and then Jim Woodruff Dam to see if we could scare up a Pacific Loon or maybe an American Coot! We didn’t have too much trouble finding the latter but the former continues to elude us. 2 Common Loons though, about 500 Canvasback, 12 American White Pelicans, 5 Bonaparte’s Gulls and at least 25 Herring Gulls were enjoying life on Lake Seminole. We decided to head back west and enjoy the spectacular blackbird roost from River Rd. However…upon driving past the jail we noticed the geese were gawn! Stolen perhaps? Flushed even? Off to roost? We headed to the small pond at the nearby dairy on Dairy Road. The Cackling Geese weren’t there but these guys were. Sweet!
There were 4 Speckle Bellies (Greater White-fronted Goose) and this guy as well.
4 species of geese in one day in Florida. Pretty cool. Love birding in Jackson County!