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Mission Bay Cackling Goose subspecies, Mount Soledad morning flight

Mission Bay Cackling Goose subspecies, Mount Soledad morning flight
By – 10:01 am
The Cackling Goose that has been present along the eastern shore of Mission Bay for a few weeks, and now associating with the two long-staying Greater White-fronteds, is an interesting bird. Its body size is at the large and pudgey end of the Cackling spectrum, although the head and bill look like a typical Cackling. It lacks a dark throat stripe and also lacks a white ring at the base of the neck. The latter character is something typically shown by Aleutian Cacklings, our dominant subspecies in southern California, although some young birds can lack that ring (although typically only in fall and early winter?). Anyway, some folks have suggested that this bird may be of the northwestern subspecies of Cackling–taverneri (Taverner’s)–which is thought to be very rare in southern California, at best. Still being discussed. Lots of photos of this bird may be viewed in numerous eBird reports.This morning, 22 March, a morning-flight check at Mount Soledad produced perhaps the first obvious flight of the season. And while numbers of clear through-migrants were obviously not overwhelming, they do give a clue as to what species are moving now in latter March, and in what relative numbers:1 Osprey16 Western Kingbirds4 Warbling Vireos1 Tree Swallow1 Cliff Swallow1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet4 Orange-crowned Warblers36 Yellow-rumped Warblers1 Black-throated Gray Warbler4 Lawrence’s GoldfinchesAnd in the past week, I’ve had a couple more presumed wintering Bl.-thr. Gray Warblers in Mission Valley–a regular winter spot for that species–which brings the Dec-Mar county total to about 43 individuals, a new winter record!–Paul Lehman, San Diego