Wise Birding Holidays

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Exmouth Cackling Goose

The Exmouth Cackling Goose has been around for a few days now.  I first saw it with good friend Matt Knott (the finder of the bird) on the evening of the 29th September though it was a little distant. Therefore today I returned and managed to get a few record shots just off Exmouth Station where the bird fed with 350+ Brent Geese until it was flushed by a helicopter! 

Cackling Goose Branta hutchinsii is the small-bodied form of Canada Goose that breeds in the arctic tundra. There are 4 recognised subspecies. The bird at Exmouth is thought to belong to the smallest subspecies of the four, Branta hutchinsii minima or Ridgway's Cackling Goose. This subspecies has a very small bill, short neck, relatively long legs and typically very dark brown plumage. Ridgeway's Cackling Goose is stated to have a strictly Pacific population in the States with very few records east of the Rockies!  

Regardless of its origin, it is still an interesting bird and even more interesting that it has joined mostly a Dark-bellied Brent Goose flock. An unlikely carrier species??

As Matt has mentioned on his excellent Blog, it is always best to keep an "open mind" regarding its true origin, though it seems unlikely to be a true vagrant.

I am not at all certain of the bird's age, but it looks to possibly be an adult? Obviously a juvenile would be better for a "wild" candidate!

Useful links HERE to ageing Canada Geese by Sibley and more HERE by Brandon Holden.

Also check out the great photos of a bird in London last year taken by good mate, Peter Alfrey HERE


"Ridgway's" Cackling Goose - Exmouth

"Ridgway's" Cackling Goose - Exmouth

"Ridgway's" Cackling Goose - Exmouth

"Ridgway's" Cackling Goose - seems to show a strongly barred pattern on the back
with straight pale lines as well as contrasting dark and light flank lines, indicative of adult? Also wary of harsh light......

"Ridgway's" Cackling Goose - Exmouth

"Ridgway's" Cackling Goose - Exmouth

"Ridgway's" Cackling Goose - Exmouth

"Ridgway's" Cackling Goose - Exmouth

"Ridgway's" Cackling Goose - Exmouth

No comments:

Post a Comment