Great Day in Orange County Black Dirt Region

very distant shot of the Snowy Owl on Indiana Road.

very distant shot of the Snowy Owl on Indiana Road.


This morning I birded the Orange County Black Dirt Region with many of my birding friends. It was a great day with many excellent finds. First was the continuing first year female SNOWY OWL on Indiana Road originally found by Matt Zeitler yesterday. Many people had great views of this bird today. Other nice finds for me were my FOS SNOW GEESE on Breeze Hill Road. There were three adults and one immature. Horned Lark were everywhere! Red-tailed Hawks were most numerous, I had at least 15 of these raptors. One light phase ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, found by Bruce Nott was my FOS. Bruce also found a Merlin, but it flew just before I arrived. Other raptors included two each of Cooper’s Hawk and American Kestrel. Many folks saw a huge flock of Snow Bunting, but I missed them. I understand a well seen Lapland Longspur were among them. A nice find for me were two CACKLING GEESE among a huge flock (3000) at the Pine Island Turf Nursery. It was nice to bird with Linda Scrima and Kyle Dudgeon today and many thanks to Bruce Nott for his good finds.
one of the adults and the immature Snow Geese

one of the adults and the immature Snow Geese


Cackling Goose in the center, note the overall paleness, short stocky neck, large white chin strap and overall much smaller size.

Cackling Goose in the center, note the overall paleness, short stocky neck, large white chin strap and overall much smaller size.


I enlarged this shot so it would show the distinct field marks and make them easily recognizable.

I enlarged this shot so it would show the distinct field marks and make them easily recognizable.

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5 Responses to Great Day in Orange County Black Dirt Region

  1. Great day for you John. I never knew that the Cackling Goose had a larger chin strap – good to know! Matt

  2. Thanks Matt! In regard to the white chin strap, some say it is to variable to be of significant use in identification. For me, it is always the norm for it to be broader than accompanying Canada Geese. If you check out the many photos I have of Cackling Geese (most can now be seen in the ebird checklists I have submitted) you will see that it is consistent, at least from my perspective. It has been a help to me as an identifying factor.

  3. PS the smaller size, paleness, stocky neck and tiny triangular bill must of course also be present.

  4. Linda says:

    Thanks John, for another great day of birding! I am now on my quest to find Cackling Geese for 2016! Thank you for posting pictures (even distant) because they help me identify (especially the Cackling, and I didn’t know that about the enlarged chin straps. I am going to look over my probable Cackling pictures from today, and see if I notice the chin strap)… 🙂

  5. It was a great day Linda and it was nice to spend part of it with you and Kyle. I’m sure we’ll get a chance again soon, I plan on coming down again one day this week.

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