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Blue Goose Observed at the Salton Sea, Imperial County, California

James R. Soms
Publication Information
3 (May-June)
From Field and Study

Blue Goose Observed at the Salton Sea, Imperial County, California.-On December 14, 19.57, Edward J. O’Neill, of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and I were observing a large flock of Snow Geese (Chen hyperborea) on a large fresh water pond near the southern end of the Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge, Imperial County, California. While we were watching the geese a single engine civilian aircraft flew over the area at a moderate elevation. As the airplane approached, the geese rose en masse, wheeled about the area, and returned to the pond.

When the flock landed, Mr. O’Neill noted a darker goose on a bank about 200 yards from us. Using a 20x spotting scope we identified this bird as a Blue Goose (Cken cuevulescens) . This goose was observed for the better part of an hour. At first it was at the edge of the group of Snow Geese on the bank, but after a half hour it joined the Snow Geese and was finally lost in the middle of the flock.

According to Grinnell and Miller (Pac. Coast Avif. No. 27, 1944:72), the Blue Goose “is a rare winter visitor to the San Joaquin-Sacramento Valley. Two occurrences have been definitely recorded.” One of these was near Stockton on about February 1, 1892, and another specimen was taken in the vicinity of Gridley, Butte County, on December 15, 1910. A check through subsequent literature available to me shows no further records of this species for California.-JAMES R. SAMS, Natural History Museum, San Diego, California, December 19, 1957. 

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