After 2004’s still unidentified goose, I’ve been on the lookout for similar birds. Yesterday, John Crookes reported a probable Cackling Goose at Beaver Brook.
Unfortunately, it was too dark to run over after work, but I was there before 7 this morning. There were quite a few geese but nothing different. Quick checks of Fernald and Lyman Pond found many more geese but no Cackling (a couple looked slightly smaller, presumably more northern migrants).
I went back to Beaver Brook on my lunch break. The geese had moved to the other pond but there weren’t any different ones. I walked to the other pond, which only had a few black ducks and then started back, trying to decide if I had time to run to Lyman again. However, a few more geese had flown in and I stopped to scan them. One jumped out as smaller. Looking carefully, it was about 3/4 of the size (give or take) of the others. The breast was noticeably darker than all the other birds present. There was a hint of a darker chin stripe and a couple white feathers where the neck and breast meet. Bill and head shape were slightly different but not hugely so from the Canadas. I didn’t notice any obvious difference in back or body color, although the sides look slightly darker in the photos. Several more flocks flew in and began bathing noisily and I eventually lost track of it (one or two of the new arrivals appeared to have a breast approaching if not as brown). So what is it?
As always, click through to the flickr page and hit all sizes for a larger view.
I should note that there are lots of geese around and there very well may be a Cackling among the ones I didn’t see. I don’t know if John had any photos to say if it’s the same bird.