weather for January has been unusually warm with a few days of
60 degrees. Lakes and ponds are half frozen and many of the same
ducks we found on our waterfowl count in January are still present
as of this writing on February 9th. The two male Pintails and eight
Wood Ducks are still present at Wappingers Lake on the east side
of Rt. 9. Ruddy Ducks, Coots, Hooded and Common Mergansers
and Ring-necked Ducks are present at Sylvan Lake. Hunn's Lake has
a few Snow Geese with the many Canada Geese, and a male Canvasback
has been seen at Lake Oniad. Round Pond is worth checking, as well
as Abel's pond and Upper Kay's pond.
On Monday, January 28th, Chet Vincent found a smaller goose among
the Canada Geese that had flown into Waryas Park, while he was
checking to see if two Peregrine Falcons were on the old railroad
bridge. (He has been lucky to view one to two Peregrine Falcons
most times he goes there.) He made some phone calls and, with Ken & Carol
Fredericks' and Rosa Corbeels' help, it was decided this smaller
goose was a Cackling Goose - a subspecies of the Canada Goose.
Thanks Ken for taking some pictures of this goose. We had one other
record of this bird by Mary & Jim Key. Mary wrote in a Wings
article, "On Sunday afternoon, March 27th, 1977, we received
a call from Thelma Haight.....Thelma told us Jesse Bontecou had
a very small Canada Goose with his regular Canada Geese. It was
the size of a mallard and had a high-pitched call. It is sometimes
called "Cackling Canada Goose" for that very reason.
This goose breeds north of Hudson Bay and migrates through the
western prairie states to the coast of Texas and southwest Louisiana.
Why was it here? That is always a good question!"
On Saturday, February 2nd, Nat Donson called to report a Merlin
checking his feeders at his home in Pine Plains. During the walk
on Wednesday at Thompson Pond I spoke with Theresa Robinson about
the Merlin. She, along with the Donson's, were fortunate to have
close views of this rare visitor to feeders. Barbara Butler told
me there are a few mild-winter sightings but normally we see Merlin's
during spring and fall migration.
Two Golden Eagles were seen at Thompson Pond on Wednesday, February
6th. Bald Eagles were seen at Norrie Point on January 30th, and
other sightings have been reported also.
We may still get snowstorms and cold temperatures before winter
is done. So far we have been lucky, but we do need the water to
alleviate the dry conditions we are in. So keep the feeders filled
and an eye out for birds coming to your yard.
Over Dutchess, February