Posted by: PMGDD | November 28, 2013

Birds of a Feather Flocking with OTHERS

Jim and Dave’s very successful wild geese chase November 13, 2013 (Photos below order)

On Wednesday, November 13, Jim and I travelled to Sainte-Marie-de-Kent southwest of and upriver from Bouctouche on Route 515 that parallels the north shore of the Buctouche River.  For the past two weeks there had been reports of three rare geese species travelling with a large flock of Canada Geese in that area.  The attached photos taken by Jim provide the evidence of the success of our outing:

“Geese 1” photo – The rare, small white goose at the back-right is a ROSS’S GOOSE (Chen rossii) (length 23”).  Note the pinkish red legs.  The larger white goose in front of it is an ADULT WHITE-MORPH SNOW GOOSE (Chen caerulescens) (length 28 – 31”) while the white goose on the extreme right with the somewhat darker back and wings is a JUVENILE WHITE-MORPH SNOW GOOSE (Chen caerulescens).  By comparison, the largest COMMON CANADA GEESE (Branta canadensis) in the photo average  45” in length.

“Geese 9” photo –  The goose with the orange legs on the left facing left is the GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE (Anser albifrons) (length 28”).  The smaller white goose on the extreme right is the ROSS’S GOOSE.  In this photo the short stubby pinkish bill can be seen.  There are three JUVENILE DARK-MORPH SNOW GEESE (Chen caerulescens) standing in the water from front-centre to front-right.  Note that two colour morphs or phases of the Snow Goose are not considered to be subspecies.  However, the dark morph is sometimes called the Blue Goose.  The rare CACKLING GOOSE (Branta hutchinsii) (27”) is the small-looking Canada Goose facing left with its head erect in the middle of the photo just above the fluffy cattail head.  Note the obvious difference in size between the cackling and the normal-sized Canada’s behind it and in the background.  It also has a stubbier bill.  This paler-breasted CACKLING GOOSE is referred to as the RICHARDSON’S SUBSPECIES (Branta hutchinsii hutchinsii).  There is another smaller, darker, Canada-like goose on the right just in front of the Ross’s Goose which may be a LESSER CANADA GOOSE (Branta canadensis parvipes).

“Geese 14” photo –  The birds seen in the “Geese 9” photo can be seen again in slightly different positions, but in addition, the goose at the far back to the right of centre which has its head to the ground and is hidden behind the back of the Canada that is standing erect in the centre, appears to be a DUSKY CANADA GOOSE, a smaller subspecies (Branta canadensis occidentalis) of the Canada Goose (length 38”).  The bird in the photo has a “dusky” breast as opposed to the lighter breasts of the Common and Lesser Canada Geese.

“Geese 15” photo – The goose in the centre among the Canada Geese is the rare Greater White-fronted Goose (length 28”).  It’s obviously smaller than the surrounding Canada Geese.  You can see the white front of the face at the base of the orange bill, and hence the “White-fronted” part of the common name.

Stu Tingley was very helpful in confirming the Cackling, Dusky, and Lesser Canada Geese identifications.


(click on thumbnails below)

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