Some time ago I came across a small Canada Goose albeit distantly on Hempstones Point on Astmoor salt marsh, Wigg Island, Runcorn. Initially the goose was identified as one of the Lesser Canada Goose races on its small size compared to the larger Western Canada Geese which it loosely associated with. The identity of small Canada Geese are fairly complex but generally the species most likely to occur in the UK is hutchinsii, Richardson’s Canada Goose.
The Wigg Goose from the initial find was paired to a Barnacle Goose of which it was of comparable size.
Some doubts were raised to the birds identity and eventually the expressed view was that the goose was a hybrid.
Following this revaluation I obtained some video footage of the goose and images from that video are included here. I believe the bird was a Cackling x Barnacle Goose which I have nicknamed the ‘Barnana Goose’. After some resource on the web I found David Sibly’s online guide useful in Distinguishing Cackling and Canada Goose . Other informative images and text were gained from Dave Appleton’s site gobirding.eu click here. Dave’s site shows images of a Cackling x Barnacle hybrid at Amner and Shernborne, Norfolk, from 6th January 2011. Although very similar to the Wigg Island bird that particular hybrid showed a small white band on the forehead.
The video grab images of the ‘Barnana Goose’ above give a general impression of a Cackling Goose. The rule of exception is the black neck sock which is uniform with the breast colour and an indication to its Barnacle parentage Also noted is its size compared to the adjacent Canada Goose.
The video was taken on 28.11.10 and the birds were present from early November throughout the winter of 2010-11. With frequent disturbance by dog walkers the flock kept its distance and were difficult to observed generally. The origin of the Wigg bird will never be determined but nonetheless an interesting winter goose.