Date: 3/3/23 7:32 am
From: Andrew McGann via CTBirds <ctbirds...>
Subject: [CT Birds] Cackling-ish Geese - "Lesser" Canada versus Cackling X Canada hybrid at Lake Wepawaug (Orange, New Haven County)
Hey all,

I was able to spend some quality time with the geese roosting at Lake Wepawaug in Orange (New Haven County) on Wednesday this week. I was searching for the juvie Greater White-fronted Goose that has been hanging around the area, but I was not able to spot it. This was Wednesday midday, after the snowfall, and before it began to melt. It seemed like most of the geese were waiting out the snowmelt at the lake, as opposed to venturing out in search of green “pastures” (cemeteries, lawns, farms & sports fields). Viewing conditions weren’t ideal, as many of the ~400 geese were hanging out on the lake margins where they were obscured by trees & shrubs from my point of view.

I scrutinized the geese for any Cackling Geese, and while I did not find any “Richardson’s” Cackling (B. h. hutchinsii), I spotted a small group (about 2-6 individuals) that were very *interesting*. They jumped out as different, with their shorter necks, somewhat flat-topped heads, and somewhat smaller bodies. However, the bill size seemed to rule out Cackling Goose to me, in the field. I texted the video clip to some of my friends, for their opinions, and there was agreement that they were “interesting.” (Haha…) But in all seriousness, they very well might be “Lesser” Canada geese (B. c. parvipes), or they very well might be hybrids of Cackling X Canada. This small group swam together, slowly, across the lake, and within the group there was some variation in size & proportions.

View the video clip and still frames on my eBird checklist:

Scrutinizing white-cheeked geese is more fun than it sounds. As for notable non-Anseriformes at the lake, there was a Pied-billed Grebe.

Good birding,

Andy McGann
New Haven, CT

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