A call on Sunday afternoon from two of Newbiggin's longest serving regulars flagged up some interesting looking Canada Geese that had appeared amongst the 400-odd naturalised birds that are frequenting Woodhorn Flashes and adjacent stubble fields. Several features on a small, tight knit group that appeared to be 'hanging together' suggested they may be of a race other than canadensis and the best fit was looking to be interior or Todd's Canada Goose.
I spent some time searching on Monday and having had the opportunity to read what little is available on-line and in lit on the racial identification of Canadas it was possible to pick out two-three individuals that showed some distinct differences to the rest of the flock. This morning a further two hours and four individuals (though others present may offer other estimates?) still present, appearing to be in two 'pairs'.
Subtle differences in plumage, that once appreciated, are nonetheless striking, for anyone wanting to try their hand at picking these individuals out (see below); these I think may be the first of this race recorded in Northumberland if accepted.
- browner, upper breast and neck lacking white collar between black neck and breast/,mantle.
- narrower and less distinct fringes on the scapulars and coverts
- darker flanks with a hint of rustiness
- creamy off-white rather than white cheek patch
- off-white (or stained?) undertail coverts
Compare them with recent Todd's on Islay here and here.