Wednesday, March 4, 2009

CT - Graylag Goose - 03/04

Graylag Goose - origin uncertain, Whirlwind Hill Road, East Wallingford, CT. Found and reported by Greg Hanisek on Feb 22nd.

After spending four not so productive hours at Windsor Landfill, I decided to head further south after a timely call from Nick Bonomo who'd just seen the Graylag Goose at MacKenzie Reservoir, Wallingford. Reaching the site took longer than I'd hoped with traffic problems on I-91 and the bird was no longer present on the reservoir when I arrived. However, I soon located it feeding with Canada Geese on Whirlwind Hill road and enjoyed good views at comfortable range.

This bird is pristine plumage, hind toes intact and shows no signs of any form of captivity. It was quite skittish on the ground, calling frequently and tending to hide amongst its companions for most of the observation. The bird is gathering interest after Greg Hanisek's initial find on Feb 22nd, and has received an upbeat appraisal from the ABA's news page (PEEPS). Graylag Goose was added to the ABA list in 2008 after a spring migrant spent some days on a drill ship some 200kms off St.John's in Newfoundland. Observations of Graylags with wild Canada Geese are bound gather interest in the future, especially in the New England states.
The bird is a nice orange-billed example of the nominate form anser which breeds in Europe, including Iceland which has seen a huge population increase in recent years.

I'm grateful to Nick Bonomo for the heads-up, and kudos to Greg Hanisek for the having the presence of mind to put the bird into the public forum!

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