[Tweeters] Whitey the goose

Gary Bletsch garybletsch at yahoo.com
Mon Oct 10 21:19:07 PDT 2011

Dear Tweeters,

A white domesticated goose of some sort has shown up in Skagit County for the fifth straight fall. I first noticed this goose on March 19, 2006, and it has continued to show up each fall since then. Arrival dates have been in September or October, except in 2008, when it showed up on August 19.

Most of the time, this bird appears in the area between Lyman and Hamilton, but I have also seen it on Fir Island and Butler Flats. It's always with Canada Geese.

It surprises me that a barnyard-type goose would migrate with Canada Geese, but that is apparently what is going on. Each year, the bird shows up in late summer or early fall, sticks around for the winter, and then departs in March.

On a few occasions, hybrid Canada-domestic geese have appeared in the flock with Whitey, so perhaps this bird is reproducing with the Canadas. Or, maybe this is just the flock where all the oddballs end up.

Some of the old coots (human coots, not avian) in the Lyman area know this bird. They say that it was given as a gift to a local farmer on Cockreham Island, who put the bird on his farm pond, where it joined some "Canada Honkers," as folks here call the Canada Geese.

Whitey has orange legs and bill, some grey pigment in the wings, and some roundish grey patches on the neck. It would be easy to call this bird a Snow Geese if only a casual look were obtained.

So, next time you are birding in the Middle Upper Skagit Valley, keep an eye out for Whitey!

Yours truly,

Gary Bletsch
Gary Bletsch Near Lyman, Washington (Skagit County), USA garybletsch at yahoo.com Mentre che li occhi per la fronda verde
ficcava ïo sì come far suole
chi dietro a li uccellin sua vita perde, lo più che padre mi dicea: «Figliuole,
vienne oramai, ché ’l tempo che n’è imposto
più utilmente compartir si vuole».  

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