Dec. 3, 2004

After a wonderful week with the Lark Sparrow in Parksville and the Grasshopper Sparrow in Sooke last week , I knew this would be a quiet week. I thought of the mainland a couple of times - Snowy Owls, Gyrfalcon, Cattle Egret, Tree Sparrows, ... but managed to resist and actually got started on a few things like Christmas cards and shopping. However, despite generally overcast skies, I did get out a couple of times for a Gull, Geese, and Duck week.

CACKLER 101 (Craig Bay flock)

I haven't learned anything yet, but whenever I see a flock of Canada Geese, I do stop and look for the little ones. So far I'm just working on small and big, nothing in between.

SOCIALIZATION BY SIZE? - Did the Greater White-fronted and Cackling (?) Goose pair up as a matter of preference or because of exclusion by the big boys? I watched them for about 30 min., and they stayed together the whole time.

TIME TO LEAVE - When in doubt, run. It seemed that the Canada's didn't care for the company of the two little guys. When you're at the bottom of the pecking order, you're going to get pecked.

HERD OF CACKLERS (?) - I usually see only one Cackler (?) at a time, but there were 10 in this bunch. The other 5 are out of the picture.

SCOOPING THE SCAUP - I've rarely been close to a Greater or any Scaup, but I caught this one napping. It was so tired that I had trouble getting a picture with its eyes open.

DOLDRUM BIRD - I usually avoid gulls, but it was a quiet week so I took a chance on the whitest head, darkest back, and black wing tips. I assume it is a Western Gull.

BARRELS OF BARROW'S - I found a nice little flock of 40 Barrow's Goldeneye this afternoon near Wall Beach. I waited patiently for the flock to swim by me, but they sensed my presence and kept their distance. Only one bird was bold enough to come a little closer.

LOONY LOOKS - As I was waiting for the Barrow's, 3 Pacific Loons cruised by. They gave me their "twisted neck" look and kept on cruising.