Frozen Fernhill

An arctic air mass brought cold temperatures and ice to Fernhill Wetlands (Birding Oregon p. 61), but there was no shortage of birds. Here are some grainy gray photos from a lap around the ponds.

Horned Grebe

Tundra Swans and California Gull

Taverner’s Cackling Goose and Northern Shovelers

Cackling Geese and Northern Pintails

Snow Goose and Cackling Geese

American Kestrel

immature Bald Eagles

This American White Pelican, a very late straggler, was circling high overhead, trying to find a thermal on this cold cloudy morning.

Cackling Cackling Geese

Great Blue Heron standing on a Beaver dam. Note the frost on the bird’s back.

Lesser Canada Goose

It’s time for another installment of my attempts to sort out the Canada/Cackling Goose complex. I recently had nice views of a Lesser Canada Goose (Branta canadensis parvipes).

This bird stood out from the nearby Western Canada Geese by the slightly darker barring on his upper breast. Some populations of this subspecies are considerably darker than this.

Here is the Lesser Canada in front of the larger Western Canada Goose (Branta canadensis moffitti). Note the smaller overall size of the Lesser, and the proportionally shorter neck.

Lesser Canada Goose in profile. The bill is almost half the total length of the head. The upper neck is quite thin.

Compare these Taverner’s Cackling Geese (Branta hutchinsii taverneri) to the Lesser Canada. Taverner’s Cackling has a uniformly thick neck and shorter bill. Notice how the wing tips extend just beyond the end of the tail. Canada Geese have shorter wings.

Here is a Taverner’s Cackling Goose within a flock of Cackling Cackling Geese (Branta hutchinsii minima). Note the longer thick neck and slightly longer bill than those on minima.