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

Greg Hanisek ghanisek at rep-am.com
Fri Dec 11 16:40:34 EST 2009

Geese don't soar or glide in sustained flight; generally they only glide 
when coming in for a landing. One way to tell that a distant V of cormorants 
isn't a flock of geese is to watch for them to glide. Cormorants are in the 
Order Pelecaniformes, and it doesn't take much knowledge of Greek or Latin 
to figure out that that makes them close relatives of the pelicans. As Chris 
noted in his observations of Brown Pelicans, and as Nick's description of 
the recent "Former Providence 8" illustrates, pelicans readily soar and 
glide during sustained flight.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: <Cnevins77 at aol.com>
To: <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org>
Sent: Friday, December 11, 2009 9:41 AM
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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