Norm (& all),
A couple possibilities for the goose similar to a Canada but with extra speckling on the head and neck: First, it's not too rare to see variants among the thousands of Canada Geese which pass by here, including individuals with a few - or even a lot - of white feathers on the head and neck where we would expect the solid black "stocking," while the rest of the field marks are as crisp as usual. One Canada Goose I saw had so much mottling on the stocking that it looked like it used an Argyle sock instead. Another possibility is a hybrid. Here in Ithaca we have experience with a family of 4 goslings raised by a pair of domestic Greylag Geese but evidently fathered by a Canada Goose. Pictures here:
One of these birds lived several years at Stewart Park, while the other 3 dispersed. I saw 3 similar birds at once at Montezuma a few years ago. A bird of this type was sighted in Ithaca again a couple times in the last few weeks as well.
The Canada X Snow Goose hybrids I've seen tend not to show the Canada face pattern, but I don't know how much variation there is.
About the raptor and the goose, I think a goose would be an ambitious quarry for a Peregrine Falcon, which makes me wonder whether the raptor was serious or whether it was another species, and what happened either way. I wish I'd seen that.
Begin forwarded message:
From: Norm Trigoboff <tt5...@yahoo.com>
Date: December 18, 2012 2:46:48 PM
To: Cornell Listserve <natural-histor...@cornell.edu>
Subject: odd duck
Saturday, Cortland County winter bird count day, we saw a probable Canada goose x snow goose hybrid at Stupke Pond. Peter from Lime Hollow (who never posts anything) spotted it among about 2600 geese. The bird was Canada goose size and body pattern, with a striking speckled neck and mottled head, yet with the white cheek patch fairly clear. None of the pics online match it perfectly.
Sunday, in the field around Cornell's Equine Research Center, a Canada goose flew in, chased for a few seconds by a big dark falcon. I hear a peregrine has been hanging around Cornell campus.
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