Monday, November 3, 2008

Cackling Goose

A few years back, scientists took the all the different races (there are quite a few) that comprise the species Canada Goose and separated them into TWO species: Canada Goose and Cackling Goose (go here if you want to know more). Yeah, you know the ones that make a mess in all the parks and golf courses? You know the ones that taste really good when pan-seared in olive oil with lots of salt and pepper? So, from a listing standpoint, birders now have to pay attention to all the hoards of geese with the hopes of finding the ones that are slightly different.

If you have been a regular reader here, you know Walt spends most of his time birding in Wayne and northern Monroe Counties. He doesn't go much beyond that. In conversations past, we had been talking about Canada Geese (okay, birders do these sorts of things). So anyhow, I mentioned to him that I still needed a Cackling Goose for my Wayne County list. He confidently told me that Washago Pond at Willow Metropark would be the place in the fall. He said to pay extra attention when the birds are in with the orange neck bands. The Cacklers wont' have the neck band, but they will be hanging out with them.

So yesterday, I got a call from Walt. At Washago Pond, as predicted, was a Cackling Goose. While my photo is simply rotten (the bird was quite a ways away), you can already see an important trait - tiny, tiny, tiny. Cackling Geese are basically the size of a Mallard Duck. There were Mallards present for comparison. Unfortunately, the photo of the bird prevents you from seeing another key mark - a short, stubby bill. After pouring over some fields, yup, we confirmed Walt's call. Cackling Goose.

In fact, we had three!

That brings my county list to 269 species.

Thanks Walt! Again!

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