Weekend Wildlife - Grey Seal & Cackling Goose

Gray Seal Pup - iScoped with Meostar S2 Spotting Scope and Meopix
Adapter

Gray Seal Pup - iScoped with Meostar S2 Spotting Scope and Meopix
Adapter
Slowly getting back into the routine after my trip abroad, readjusting to the cold weather but more so to life with a stomach. I contracted some weird bug in Panama, still waiting to find out exactly what, but was finally back on my feet today. I took the dog for a quick walk at Smith Point this morning, which was dead, as far as bird life went. Very slim by way of land birds so I took to the ocean side to have a quick gander. A decent number of White-winged Scoters were within scoping reach of the beach. Other than that, slim pickings. I noticed a dark object resting on the beach, just east of the outer beach entrance. As I approached, I saw what was an obvious Grey Seal pup. Its body looked to be in good condition and I finally saw its eye open (it's alive!), scoping from about 50 feet away. The 30 pound pup started slowly crawling up toward the dunes. I managed some photos as the seal made its ascent. I didn't highlight any photos that showed it, but the seals left eye had initially showed some mucusy discharge. Still maintaining a 50 foot buffer, and testing Rita's ability to remain calm, I phoned the Riverhead Foundation. I sent them photos of the seal along with a GPS waypoint that I managed from my GPSkit on my iPhone. Unfortunately, they were already out on a run to Montauk and had no chance in getting to this little pup by the close of the day. I was under the impression that this poor pup wasn't feeling so well. While this is sad, the reality is that this type of thing happens routinely in nature. We just don't always get to see it. Shortly after I left the seal, I turned back and last saw it had made its way near the snow fence line at the toe of the dune. I can't help but hope this little Grey Seal pup makes it. Good luck to you buddy.
Red-breasted Nuthatch - iScoped with Meostar
S2 Spotting Scope & Meopix Adapter

I slowly made my way back to my vehicle, cut through some black pines, and found a still Red-breasted Nuthatch resting on a limb. Usually when you see a nuthatch they're either feeding, climbing or flying from tree to tree. I thought it was interesting how this little guy just sat here, waiting for a photo. The bird was quite approachable and never did budge.

My body reminded me that it was fighting a foreign parasite or bacteria and I decided it was best to bird from my vehicle for the rest of the day. Hmmm? I guess I'll go goosin' in the Calverton/ Riverhead area. I'm still not accepting the fact the Long Island still hasn't gotten its 2012/2013 season Pink-footed Goose. I haven't checked out the Riverhead herds in quite a while and decided to give it a go. I drove down Horton Avenue first and had no geese. I did find a tremendous flock of Horned Larks, somewhere in the 150 individual range. They were absent along Hulse Landing Road, or at least I didn't see them. The first sizable goose herd (750) I came across was on Roanoke Ave. They were kind of distant but close enough to sift through and I found nothing of note. I thought of one of my favored goose fields that is just east of CR-105 along the north side of Sound Avenue. This field undergoes some serious hunting pressure, but now that the season is over I was hoping to score some geese. Bingo, there were easily one thousand geese in the field when I arrived. As soon as I set up my scope, within 5 seconds of scanning, I had a really nice Cackling Goose showing a perfect broad, white neck collar. I've never actually gotten to see this feature on a Cackling in the field, so I was super excited. Not all Richardson's Geese show this feature. In fact, a smaller percentage of the population is thought to. White neck collars are more evident on Cackling Geese of the Aleutian population. Aleutian birds will show much darker overall with a more square head shape. Aleutian subspecies' white collars usually connect around the entire neck. There are several other features used to distinguish these two subspecies that I won't mention. You can see that the neck collar on the bird below is broken toward the back of the neck by black. This bird was at a perfect range for iScoping with my Meopta set up. Well, you can always be closer but not worth the risk when it comes to geese. They are quite aware of your presence and only have so much of a comfort zone.
Richardson's Cackling Goose with white neck collar -
iScoped with Meostar S2 Spotter and Meopix Adapter
Richardson's Cackling Goose with white neck collar -
iScoped with Meostar S2 Spotter and Meopix Adapter

Richardson's Cackling Goose with white neck collar -
iScoped with Meostar S2 Spotter and Meopix Adapter


I finished up my scan with no other uncommon geese, other than an odd looking Canada Goose with a light yellow bill.






Comments

  1. Hi Derek,

    My name is KC Owens, I’m a college student and I love to travel! While cruising the Internet, I found your site and really enjoyed reading your posts. I have been to countries all over Europe with just my backpack and a camera. Since I am a college student and I have significant bills, it can be difficult to find ways to travel the world. However, I have done this several times, with less than ten pounds of luggage and while on a college dime!

    I was hoping that you would allow me to write a post for your site to share my tips and tricks with your readers. I put a lot of time into my traveling, it is my biggest passion and I would love to inspire others by sharing my stories, mistakes and triumphs. I look forward to hearing from you!

    Best,

    KC Owens

    ReplyDelete

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