January 6, 2006
I took a drive out to Bell's Lane yesterday afternoon, and saw a dozen or so American coots and a few Ruddy ducks on the big pond, but nothing else in that particular area. On one of the hill slopes along the upland stretch of that road further north, however, I saw several hundred Canada geese. I also noticed one peculiar white-headed goose with a black neck, thin black line reaching to the crown, dark gray back, and white streaks in the hind quarters. After consulting my field guides, I am almost certain that it was a Snow goose with "dark phase" plumage, a.k.a. "Blue goose," which was formerly considered a separate species. (Just as with the inaptly-named Great "blue" heron, there is hardly any bluish hue.) Snow geese are rare in this area; the "normal" ones are white. After checking my records, I realized that I had never seen a Snow goose before, so that makes the first life bird for me in the new year!
UPDATE: I returned late this afternoon, but the geese were much further from the road, and I didn't see the "Blue goose." I did see two Red-tailed hawks, however, one of which was startled by the approach of my car and dropped his prey (a Gray squirrel) as it flew away.