[CT Birds] Snow Geese vs. White Pelicans, Stratford

Brian Webster b.webster at hotmail.com
Fri Dec 11 10:02:56 EST 2009

I have limited experience with both, but your flight description reminds me of Snow geese more than Pelicans.
Pelicans I've seen seem to, unless soaring, fly in a direct straight line... almost with a leader.  Snow geese are all over the place.
This may be of note, but there was a flock of Snow Geese reported by Bev Propen over at the Coastal center recently.  Snow geese definately have fatter/larger head/necks than canadas, and one field mark I noticed most is the striking black primaries.
> From: Cnevins77 at aol.com
> Date: Fri, 11 Dec 2009 09:41:32 -0500
> To: ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org
> Subject: [CT Birds] Snow Geese vs. White Pelicans, Stratford
> Just back from marsh walk, Stratford at McKinney Wildlife Refuge.
> Birds sighted at 8:10 a.m. in bitter brisk winds off of Long Beach; a
> flock of 10-12 large birds flying about 20-30 feet above shore. Backlit by
> morning sun at first thought were Canada Geese, but then as moved west saw they
> were all-white with black primaries. Seemed to be very large-headed, but
> couldn't get great looks with 8x binoculars and teary eyes. By the time
> they were in good lighting, only had back side views, then went out of view
> heading west over Pleasure Beach.
> Here's the thing: flock flew in loose V formation, but not in direct
> horizontal line, kept undulating in dipping up-and-down flight in perfect
> sycnchronization, occasionally soaring. Have never seen white pelicans in
> flight, but it instantly reminded me of brown pelicans in Florida as they flapped
> and and soared over beaches in Florida. Would never even think of
> pelicans except for previous sightings last week.
> Can't say definitely what I saw, and no vocalizations, either....
> Anyone with a thought????
> Chris Nevins
> Stratford
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