Cacklers and Year-End Bird - 31 Dec 2021

A cloudy, foggy, drizzly morning greeted the last day of 2021. I drove over to Crosswinds Marsh to look for Cackling Geese, a Snowy Owl that seen at Exeter and Oakville-Waltz (no), and some Northern Pintail. 

The drive out started well. A Cooper's Hawk was perched on a power line next to Willow Rd. and allowed me to photograph it from inside the car before it took off for prey in the corn field below.

I drove down Haggerty Rd past Crosswinds Marsh and found Bobby Irwin and Josh Tally scoping the marsh next to the road. Dozens of Sandhill Cranes were in the background with a small raft of Ring-billed Gulls, several Lesser Black-backed Gulls, and one Great Black-backed Gull. In the foreground were hundreds of Canada Geese. Several Cackling Geese had been seen by Josh and Bobby, but were now out of view. 

I found a pair of Ring-necked Ducks among the geese, and just after the guys packed up I found a pair of Cackling Geese swimming among several Canada Geese. Their short necks say it all. The question is whether the other pair of geese on the right side of each image could be considered Cacklers?

I continued on around Oakville-Waltz to Exeter and drove south looking for the Snowy Owl reported yesterday. No luck. But, as I returned to the dump on Clark Rd. I spotted a Red-tailed Hawk on a pole. It took off as I pulled up but I managed a few pics as it disappeared over the dump.

The corn fields east of Clark Rd held hundreds of Canada Geese and dozens of Mallard. Several Northern Pintail were with them, but difficult to find in the stubble. I decided not to stay but headed home for a car wash and to put Christmas decorations away.

I thought the Red-tail would be my last pic of the day, but both White-breasted Nuthatch and Red-breasted Nuthatch were in the yard. The latter was caching sunflower seeds in the birch tree just outside the window, so I couldn't resist a few photos.

And, just as I thought it was my last bird of the year, a Red-bellied Woodpecker posed right outside the window. I couldn't resist. Behold, my last pic of 2021!


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