New Species

Top Photo: A new species for the museum.

Not the new species in the title, but what led to the sighting of the new species (read below).
Not the new species in the title, but what led to the sighting of the new species (read below).

I was watching and photoing the heron in the above image when I noticed the bird glance skyward. And, as I’ve said many times here on this blog, “when a bird looks up towards the sky, it’s a good idea to follow suit.” There’s likely to be something interesting up there.

At first I saw nothing as I turned and looked to the area of sky in which the heron seemed to be focused. Birds have much better vision that we humans, especially this human. Whatever it was looking at might have been a mere speck in the vast blue sky above.

Great blue heron looks skyward.

I persisted. Sure enough, eight snow geese came into view.

Eight snow geese.
Eight snow geese (12/11/15).
Snow geese.
Snow geese.

Snow geese are not rare in North Carolina. Along the coast you can see tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of the nearly all white geese at Pea Island and Mattamuskeet and Pungo lakes during the winter months. They, however, are not common here in the piedmont section of the state. I’ve never seen one fly over the Museum.

The two darker birds in the above photo are dark or blue morph snow geese. They’re different color morphs, or forms, of the same species.

Oddly, the geese were flying in a northeasterly direction. I would expect them to be moving south. But, they may have already settled in for the winter and are simply relocating to perhaps Falls Lake from a smaller local pond.

Wherever these geese were headed, I’m glad I took my own advice and looked to the skies when the heron did. Snow geese are a favorite of mine.


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