There are also surprises here--a rare critter seldom or rarely seen, or a different coloration of one frequently seen, or one that just should not be in the area, etc, etc.In the past two days, a white goose has surprised us all and apparently has taken up residence with the flock of Canada Geese that hang out at the edge of the swamp at the back power lines. First seen by park staff last Friday, the bird has caused quite a stir among birders in our area. Someone placed a message online that a Ross's Goose was at the park and on New years Eve, there were a number of people trying to get a glimpse, including a fellow who had driven all the way up from Wilmington. And he and I were not disappointed--there he/she was! We were never closer than 100 yards, but it was close enough for binocular views and for me to get a few fair shots with my 400mm lens. I have to admit that I thought it was a Snow Goose, so I sent a few pictures to Howard Vainright, the most knowledgable birder I know and the recently retired River Park Director. He identified it definitely as a Ross's Goose and also said there had been one Ross Goose visit the park 10-15 years ago that stayed around for only one day. Howard said the primary differences between the 2 are that the Ross Goose is smaller and the bill of the Snow Goose appears to have a gap between upper and lower bills. The Sibley Guide says they are seen during migration in grasslands and grainfields in the eastern great plains and the Mississippi Valley, but are rare visitors to the Atlantic Coast area.This is truly a rare event for the park and a great Winter Surprise for us all!! If you haven't been out to see the bird, go today!!--A great way to start the New year!!
Below are some shots of the winter critters I saw on recent visits and the last few pics are the Ross's Goose. The Goose pics were taken with the bird at least 100 yards away, so are only fair at best---
HAPPY NEW YEAR AND GOOD BIRDING !!