Today was a beautiful fall day to chase birds. I returned to Artichoke Reservoir which was rather calm after yesterday’s chaos. I was looking for the Greater White-fronted Goose that has been seen for several days in a row. My first pass on the various vantage points brought some nice birds: lots of Mallards, Pied-billed Grebes, a Double-crested Cormorant, a couple of Mute Swans, and about 20 Canada Geese but no target bird. I was early and knew that they had been overnighting in nearby cornfields and arriving later in the morning so I drove over to nearby Cherry Hill Reservoir.
I took a walk along the eastern edge, seeing hundreds of Ruddy Ducks, a couple of American Coots, a late Osprey, and numerous sparrows. A birder came walking up, with a dog on a leash, and asked if I’d seen the goose. When I said no, he told me that it had just flown in back at Artichoke — that he’d been there when it arrived. So, back in the car I went, stowing scope and tripod, and drove the ten minutes back. Sure enough, there was a gaggle of geese on the wind-swept water and after counting 49 and not seeing it, I went slowly back through the group and sure enough, there it was — smaller, orange bill, different coloration. Life bird 348! I took some digiscoped shots but they are for documentation — too far away and pretty windy.
As I was watching, a birder from New Hampshire showed up, and then another serious guy who’d driven yesterday to Rhode Island for the Wood Sandpiper. They got on the bird and then a woman arrived, mentioning that “the Great Cormorant was still at Cherry Hill Reservoir.” I asked her where and since I’d never spotted it, after watching the goose for a bit longer, I made the short trip back to Cherry Hill. I suspect that locals are used to birders by now.
I found the juvenile Great Cormorant — perhaps two — the photos look that way — on rocks way on the other side of the water. They digiscoped photo is pretty rough but the looks through the scope were good. Life bird 349!
I would have liked to see the Pink-footed Goose that someone reported a few days ago and my birder friends were really after that … but it may have been a misidentification or just left, as rare birds will do. I’m at the point in birding where I still have a number of not-so-rare birds to get for life birds. Hope to get one more this week — perhaps a Northern Gannet.