Sunday, November 16, 2008

Richardson's Cackling Goose, Amherst - 11/16

Acting on gut feeling, I decided to check the UMass Campus Pond earlier, rather than later in the day, and finally pinned down the Richardson's Cackling Goose that has been feeding in the Hadley fields for at least a week, perhaps more. I actually watched the bird fly in from the West over the UMass playing fields at around 08:05am, and then drove back to the campus pond to enjoy excellent views. This bird shows a number of characteristics associated with Richardson's Cackling Goose (B.h. hutchinsii) including the steep forehead and square headed appearance, proportionately short stubby bill, broad white cheek, rather gray cast to the upperparts and tiny size. This particular individual was darker breasted than most that I've seen in the Pioneer Valley, but I didn't read too much into this, other than individual variation. It was also molting accounting for the untidy looking tail seen in some of the flight views.

Keeping a close eye on the local Peregrines!

Canada Goose - An interestingly marked aberrant bird.

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