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February 2017


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Ian Worley <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Vermont Birds <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 27 Feb 2017 18:26:24 -0500
text/plain (136 lines)
Well, good looks today at the bird seen yesterday in the flooded fields 
of the Lemon Fair flats in Cornwall, and mentioned below in this thread,
proved that the bird is indeed a domestic Graylag ... or sort of.

It has a very heavy body in contrast to the Snow Goose and Canada Geese
around it, especially when seen from behind. The neck is thick and the
head large. The large bill is orange, as are the legs. The face and
head are white and the back of the head and the entire neck and throat
are a pied coloration of black with white. The back is gray or
gray-brown and lightly patterned. The breast is light, and the
after-flanks and rear are bright white.

Check out this article From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Scroll down to this section header: "*Just to keep things confusing,
geese hybridize too*."

Find the picture of five sibs crossing a parking lot in Stewart Park in
Ithaca. The leader of the troop closest to the camera is exactly like
the bird that is hanging out in the Lemon Fair flooded fields. The
parents of that clutch of five are described in the article thusly ---

"The parents were clearly domestic geese, but it kind of looks like Mom
was fooling around with a Canada Goose. ... This form appears to be
rather common, at least in Upstate New York over the last few years. It
closely resembles the "Greater White-fronted X Canada Goose hybrid"
pictured in the Sibley Guide to Birds, but is probably far more
frequently encountered than that presumably rare hybrid."


On 2/26/2017 8:36 PM, Ian Worley wrote:
> That's part of the reason my first thought was domestic. However, some
> of the Canada Geese we have in the Champlain Valley are quite small.
> Hopefully someone will have some sustained views of the bird, and well
> describe the bird.
> Ian
> ----------------------------
> On 2/26/2017 7:58 PM, Jane Stein wrote:
>> Ian, why/how would a snow-Canada hybrid be bigger than a Canada?
>> Jane
>> (Shoreham)
>> On 2/26/2017 7:50 PM, Ian Worley wrote:
>>> Hi Bob,
>>> Thanks for the thought. I didn't get a good enough look to really
>>> explore the options. I would have, if the group had stayed in place.
>>> My starting point was the heft of the bird, so noticeably larger in
>>> appearance than the Canadas it was with, which were small Canadas if
>>> the
>>> Snow Goose was a normal size. That sent my brain to a domestic
>>> goose of
>>> some sort, but I couldn't make that hold up later with a cursory
>>> on-line
>>> search.
>>> I've seen all sorts of leucistic birds with varying degrees and
>>> distributions of white. That may not have jumped into my mind
>>> because I
>>> perceived the bird to be more stocky than a Canada Goose. I haven't
>>> forgot about other species being hybridized as well.
>>> I'll try to find it again tomorrow. Where first seen it was only
>>> 300-400 feet away. Where it went was 4000 feet distant, and there
>>> was a
>>> lot of heat distortion in the cold air over the warm ground of the last
>>> few days. If I do refind it, I'm curious to see if my quick
>>> observations in that limited time hold up during a more sustained and
>>> comprehensive view.
>>> Best regards,
>>> Ian
>>> ------------------------------------------------------
>>> On 2/26/2017 7:12 PM, anneboby wrote:
>>>> Ian - may I suggest it was possibly a leucistic Canada (a bird with
>>>> partial white plumage) rather than a hybrid. I suggest this after
>>>> recently banding my second leucistic Red-tailed Hawk in NY.
>>>> Bob Yunick
>>>> Schenectady, NY
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: Ian Worley <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> To: VTBIRD <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> Sent: Sun, Feb 26, 2017 1:37 pm
>>>> Subject: [VTBIRD] Snow Goose x Canada Goose hybrid .. Lemon Fair WMA,
>>>> Cornwall.
>>>> While beginning to count 2300 Canada Geese today in the flooded Lemon
>>>> Fair River flats west of West Street, Cornwall, I came upon a
>>>> noticeably
>>>> large goose, as compared with the Canada Geese and one Snow Goose
>>>> it was
>>>> foraging with. I was struck by its size, but it didn't really look
>>>> like
>>>> any domestic goose with which I am familiar. I now think it is a Snow
>>>> Goose x Canada Goose hybrid.
>>>> As I was taking notes on its plumage, the ensemble of geese bolted
>>>> as an
>>>> immature Red-tailed Hawk made a zooming pass. They landed about 0.3
>>>> miles up stream with other geese at a location I could not see well.
>>>> I saw the bird from right and left rear quarter view as it swam and
>>>> when
>>>> it took flight. It was dark bodied above, and white below. The wings
>>>> were dark but the outer primaries were all white and very striking in
>>>> flight. My look at the neck was remembered poorly, though it
>>>> definitely
>>>> was not white. The head was prominently pied in color, a mottling of
>>>> dark spots or blotches on a white field. I did not see the bill or
>>>> feet
>>>> with any clarity.
>>>> Ian