Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Interesting Cackler

Cackling Goose at Arrowhead Lakes area this morning, in midst of a flock of Canada Geese.  I wanted to go back and get more looks at this interesting bird.  This flock seems to roost on Arrowhead Lake at night, flying in late in the evening and flying out early in the morning elsewhere on the Arrowhead Lakes Community.  These geese were observed through the Thunderbird Viewing Blinds Park early at about 7:30 A.M., and they departed at 7:45.   Even though dark and the early photographs were poor, the size of the Cackler is very evident in comparison to the Canadas and the "neck ring" is also very evident.

After the geese flew south into the Arrowhead Lakes Community, I spent the next 1.5 hours driving around a searching for them on the many ponds and golf course edges.  This Belted Kingfisher was a nice highlight while I was White-cheeked Goose deprived.

Every now and then, I would see a few Canada Geese, but not the flock I was hoping for.  I noticed more Geese on the golf courses.  I talked to the golf course manager and she told me there are over 150 geese on the golf course.  She didn't seem to mind me looking at birds, but it was golfing hours, and I wasn't going to interrupt the golfers.  After 1.5 hours, I finally decided to give up.  I wasn't seeing geese numbers at any of the viewpoints I had of the extensive golf courses, and I headed back south out of the area on 59th Avenue.  As I was heading south, I passed by a course on the west side of 59th Avenue, and the course was just north of Mohawk Lane.  There were about 30 Canada Geese on the course, who I could tell were very viewable from the road.  I pulled into Mohawk Lane, parked in the neighborhood, and viewed the golf course and the geese from the road.  And the interested Cackler was indeed there, I had finally found the flock.  Finding your bird after you give up is freaking awesome.

The views were a little distant but good, and I still snapped away.

And the neckband is even more striking up close.  Even from behind.

The geese were slightly alarmed, but didn't seem too worried.

This Cackling Goose shows the interesting characteristic of the neckband, which is very typical of Aleutian Cackling Goose.  Luckily, after talking with expert birders about this bird, they feel like it is indeed an Aleutian Cackling Goose.  This bird provided me with a great learning experience, and this particular subspecies of Cackling Goose is very rare in Arizona.

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