One White, One Dark

As I noted back in early December the company I work for changed computer systems and I was transitioning to a new position.  As with most things both took longer then planned and  culminated the last couple of weeks.  Heck, for the first time in as long as I can remember I worked both weekend days and didn’t bird at all. Nor have I had time to blog.

So it was good to walk out of work yesterday and see some uncommon birds. At least  uncommon for the Shelby County area.

001
Two Snow Geese mixed in with hundreds of Canada Geese. Shelbyville Retaining Pond 02/10/15

A white and dark Snow Goose. Not anything like the thousands reported lately at Goose Pond but still good to see.

015

019

021Not the first Snow Geese I have seen in the area having seen two down the road in December. But I can add the Snow Geese along to the Red-necked Grebe I saw last year at the work pond.

And I should be over the hump and back to birding and blogging this weekend.

 

Photoless Saturday

Some days I get lucky with photography, most days I don’t.  Saturday I didn’t. But I had a good day birding none the less.  This also means I get to show some pictures I have taken over the years.

With Mike unavailable I stayed close to home. But I still picked up the last of the easy winter birds to add to my Indiana Life list without going to Lake Michigan.

The day started well before dawn trying for an Eastern Screech-Owl I have been hearing at my residence.  But of course they won’t call when you want them too.  Driving to Southeastway Park I checked every telephone pole for a Great Horned Owl. Not really paying attention at that early hour I about ran through a stop sign with a police car behind me.  I had better refine that practice.

Further down the road on a pole I often see a local Red-tailed Hawk, a Great Horned was standing night guard.  We watched each other for a few minutes and then I headed to the park for other owls.  I took a leisurely stroll around the park but never did hear a Barred Owl.

GHOW 101109
I caught this Great Horned Owl sleeping one morning in Middleton, WI. 10/11/09

I then headed to Geist Reservoir.  On arriving there were two Red-shoulder Hawks being harassed by American Crows at the parking lot.  They were sitting close for a great photo-op.  But by the time I jump out of the car they were flying away calling. And that was how the day went for photos.

It wouldn't turn it's head my direction.  To intent on watching something. Red-shouldered Hawk - Atterbury FWA 02/02/14
Yes, I have used this photo before. I better get a new Red-shouldered Hawk photo. Atterbury FWA, IN 02/02/14

Observing the reservoir there was a little open water with Canada Geese and Mallards. But flying over the frozen lake was a flock of 25 geese with one of them white.  It was just a little smaller than a Canada – a Snow Goose.  But to far away for a photo.

SNGO 012212
These are rafts of Snow Geese at Carlyle Lake in Illinois. Estimates were anywhere to 500,000 on up to a 1,000,000 birds. I really don’t know if that is true but when one group flew it was amazing. Carlyle Lake, IL 01/22/12

Walking up the creek I observed a Great Blue Heron flying up the creek and over the spillway to the lake. Then another. And another.  I counted twenty-one herons flying in a ten minute period. The creek is open so they must had a feeding spot up the creek.  Not sure what disturbed them except there had been people with several dogs around.

GBHE
This is one of the few photos I did not mark a date or location. Don’t even have a good guess. Great Blue Heron – United States – 21st Century

In the afternoon I headed to Eagle Creek and observed from Rick’s. The only open water was about a half-mile north.  It contained a large assortment of Canada Geese, White-fronted Geese, Mallards, and a few Common Goldeneye, Common Mergansers, and Northern Pintail.

But the stars, at least for me, were two Red-breasted Mergansers. They continued the weekly string I have of adding Indiana Life birds.  They gave good views in the spotting scope but were too far a way for a photo. Of course.

RBME F WW 033011
First the female, and then a male Red-breasted Mergansers. They were in a group of 8 that went slowly by the bank. Illinois River, LaSalle County, IL 03/30/11
RBME M WW 033011
Male Red-Breasted Merganser – details above photo.

After an hour in the cold wind I called it a day. Photoless.

Shelby County Snow Geese

I decided to take the long way home meandering through the agriculture landscape looking for white blobs (Snowy Owls) or maybe a hawk sitting on the smallest, top limb of a tree (Rough-legged Hawk).  I didn’t really expect to see any, and I didn’t, but I did come across a pair of Snow Geese at a retention pond on the north side of Shelbyville.

And as Landon Neumann states often on IN-Bird, birds like these are good to see in the “cornfield desert”. Or something similar to that. It conveys the idea well.

SNGO 122914
The pair of Snow Geese in a “natural setting” – factory grounds by a retention pond. Shelbyville, IN 12/29/14
SNGO 122914A
A better view of one of the two. I like to observe Snow Geese near Canada Geese to get a good feel for their size. The size contrast helps so on the few occasions I come across the smaller Ross’s Geese it is easier to make the ID.
SNGO 122914B
And here practicing it’s dance moves in preparation for a New Year’s Eve Party.