One Step Back – Two Steps Forward

The Snow Goose I reported last week flying over my house turned out to be a leucistic Canada Goose. Darn, one step back..

I got an email from Doug Gray Sunday morning that he had seen a leucistic Canada Goose at the Lowes/Walmart pond.  He couldn’t get a photo since the weather wasn’t good.  I replied I would walk out there Sunday afternoon and see if I could get a photo.

I was hoping to see something good like a Sharp-shinned Hawk on the 3.5 mile walk through residential areas but it was very quiet.  Upon arriving the local pair of Red-tailed Hawks were sitting together in the trees east of Walmart.  The pond is still about 1/4 open water and there were an estimated 500 Canada Geese present.  The leucistic Canada Goose was obvious, sleeping by the water.  In a few minutes it awoke and went for a swim.  Obviously not a Snow Goose but I might have wondered what it was if Doug hadn’t ID it.  There are more pictures and discussion about the goose on the Birding Indiana Facebook page.

Too bad it wasn't a Snow Goose...  Still a very cool looking bird.  Leucistic Canada Goose.  Lowes/Walmart Pond 1/19/14

Too bad it wasn’t a Snow Goose… Still a very cool looking bird.
Leucistic Canada Goose. Lowes/Walmart Pond 1/19/14

So no Snow Goose on the county list.  But as is usually the case in birding, if one thing isn’t found something else is.  There were also present two American Black Ducks and two Common Goldeneyes present, new on this years county list. Two steps forward.  Both species were also a pleasant surprise since I have only seen one Goldeneye previously in the county and only one pair of Black Ducks that hung around Atterbury FWA last year.

American Black Duck.  One of two that were present Sunday, 1/19/14. Lowes/Walmart Pond.

American Black Duck. One of two that were present Sunday, 1/19/14.
Lowes/Walmart Pond.

ABDU

Do you think the Common Goldeneye would ever turn or wake up for a picture? Nope.  At least you can see the Golden Eye. Lowes/Walmart Pond 1/19/14

Do you think the Common Goldeneye would ever turn or wake up for a picture? Nope. At least you can see the Golden Eye.
Lowes/Walmart Pond 1/19/14

After viewing for about an hour and deciding there were no other species mixed in I made the 3.5 mile walk home through the snow.

After an hour of birding, the walk home often in the snow.   No sidewalks in the rural areas.  Johnson County. 1/19/14

After an hour of birding, the walk home often in the snow.
No sidewalks in the rural areas. Johnson County. 1/19/14

 

 

 

 

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5 Responses to One Step Back – Two Steps Forward

  1. Amy Kearns says:

    Hate to say it, but looking at the photo, I think your American Black Duck is a female Mallard. Black Ducks have darker bodies and yellow bills (both sexes).

    • BobC says:

      Hi Amy. I have added another picture that if you click on will enlarge. According to both Sibley and National Geographic the female American Black Duck has a dark olive or dull green bill with a greater contrast between the body and face. In the field this bird and one other matched this description. The female Mallards had orange bills with dark marks. So I was pretty sure this was an American Black Duck. Of course I have been wrong before and will be again…
      Thanks for reading and commenting.
      Bob

      • Amy Kearns says:

        Bob,

        I enlarged the photo but I still only see a female Mallard swimming next to the male Mallard. I’m assuming that’s the bird you’re talking about? It appears to have a dark orange bill, and a lighter brown body than what I’d expect to see on a Black Duck.

        Because there are Black Duck x Mallard hybrids, it’s best to see the speculum to really clinch the ID. Black Ducks have purple speculums bordered by a narrow line of black, with no white in the border.

        • BobC says:

          Thanks for the feedback. Yes, that was the bird I was talking about. Went back through my other pictures but no shots of the speculum. Hopefully the water won’t freeze before this weekend and I can get better looks/picture. And this has sparked me to writing a future post about something I had thought about writing for awhile – thoroughly knowing your local birds, even Mallards.

          Bob

        • BobC says:

          Please check out my post today where I discuss the American Black Duck. Thanks for getting me thinking about it.

          Bob

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