Early this afternoon I checked out two of the main Anchorage watering holes that actually have open water in mid-winter. The first was Spenard Crossing, the site last year for Cassin’s and Purple Finches, and this year for a Pacific Wren. I just saw the normal wintering birds today. The only ducks were Mallards. In the woods were Boreal and Black-capped Chickadees, Black-billed Magpies, Common Ravens, and a Brown Creeper (heard only). One of the magpies was busy hiding some food and strolled across a path ahead of me intent on its mission. Although a Cackling Goose had been reported yesterday I did not see it. Someone suggested that it might have gone to Cuddy Pond, another popular Mallard spot.
After doing some errands, I went to Cuddy Pond, which was definitely a Mallard gathering place. While I watched a male Common Goldeneye popped up in the small pond of open water where most of the Mallards were.
I was about to leave Cuddy Pond when a goose wandered across the ice from somewhere, most likely the same bird as seen yesterday at Spenard Crossing (which had also been reported to have a white neck band). Because it is bigger than the Mallards and does not have the short bill that I associate with Cackling Geese I think that it is one of the small Canada Geese that frequent Anchorage. Feel free to tell me I’m wrong – I need a Cackling Goose for the year.