Friday, January 25, 2008

Possible Cackling Goose (Ipswich, Ma.) 1/24

Chuck Caron and I found a small white-cheeked goose along the Ipswich River yesterday 1/24/2008. It looked very good for being a Cackling Goose, small size 2/3 that of nearby Canada (but maybe just a tad larger than some other Cacklers I have seen), over all a frosty appearance, blocky looking head shape. However, the bill did not appear to be as stubby as I would expect based on previous Cacklers I have seen, field guide illustrations and Internet photos I have reviewed. Here are a few digi photos I took. So is this feature within the "range" of a "normal Cackling Goose", could it be a hybrid or another form within the Canada "clan" or am I looking too deeply into this, comments to ALURAP@VERIZON.NET are welcomed.Possible Cackling Goose
Possible Cackling Goose

Note: in addition to the comment below, 2 others feel this would fit a smaller form on the Canada side of the Cackling/Canada complex. Mainly, based on the lack of a stubby bill and head shape.

1 comment:

Christian Nunes said...

Hi Tom,

I'm always interested in seeing photos of small geese in New England (I'm from RI originally). I now live in CO, so I get to enjoy large numbers of Moffit's and Lesser Canadas and many Richardson's Cacklers. If I were in CO, your bird would be a no-question-in-my-mind Lesser Canada. The head shape is typical for this sub species. The forehead is sloped at a low angle, the bill is long. It doesn't have a blocky head with a stubby bill that would be expected on a Cackler. With the recent split, I've always wondered how many, if any, Lesser Canadas make it to the East coast and are mis-IDed as Richardson's. It's a ID issue that doesn't seem to be on people's radar. Even more of an issue is the provinence of Taverner's Cackler, of which there are only a few possible records (like the bird James Smith found this winter). If this is a Cackler, it is closest to a Taverner's, but I'm not comfortable assigning this sub-species to a single bird out of range. As far as I can tell, your bird is the only one that I would feel confident calling a Lesser that I have seen pictures of this winter in New England. Interesting bird to say the least, and I hope it stimulates some discussion on Massbird. Take it easy,

Chris Nunes