Monday, 6 February 2012

White-fronted Greenland Tundra Goose

Now that would be a hybrid to behold! Today (Monday) I managed to get out for a few hours and down to Rainton Meadows DWT in the hope of seeing the Tundra Bean Goose, Greenland White-fronted Goose, 5 Eurasian White-fronted Geese, and the single Pink-footed Goose that are currently hanging around with the local Greylag and Canada Geese. Birds remained distant and so no photos from me, thankfully John Bridges has some stock photos of the same birds which again he kindly allowed me to use on my blog. I've added some comments under each image so if anyone is interested they can have a look at those, nothing much else at Rainton today other than 4 colour ringed Herring Gulls, details back from two already revealing that one was from Aberdeen and another the Thames area!

(Pink-footed Goose - © John Bridges)
Species does exactly what it says on the tin; has pink legs. A small goose generally speaking and also a fairly narrow band across the bill as can be seen here in this shot.

(From left: Greenland White-fronted Goose, Eurasian White-fronted Goose, Tundra Bean Goose, 2 Eurasian White-fronted Geese - © John Bridges)
Very instructive shot and shows all birds present and the variations that they can show. Will go over more detail later on in post but large orange triangular shaped bill is obvious on this Greenland here compared to the Eurasian birds. The Tundra Bean Goose has a much heavier set bill than all the White-fronts and generally looks out of place in this shot; it appears larger in the body, bill, and head regions. 

(2 Eurasian White-fronted Geese and Tundra Bean Goose - © John Bridges)
Nice shot showing the pink bills of the Eurasian White-fronted Geese which immediately separates the birds from Greenland individuals. Tundra Bean Goose here shows the nice thick set neck, bulky dark head, and obviously large bill with heavy base and nice obvious orange band around bill. In Taiga Bean Geese the bill is predominately orange lacking the banded orange effect shown here by this Tundra. 

(Greenland White-fronted Goose - © John Bridges)
Compare this bird to the Eurasian White-fronts above. The obvious features separating the two races are; the orange bill in Greenland is nearly always lacking on Eurasian White-fronted Geese. However some birds have been noted to have orange in the bill, but these birds are rare. Equally as striking as the differences in the bill colour is perhaps the much darker upperparts, neck, and head of the Greenland bird compared to the Eurasian White-fronts. However lighting may change how a bird appears in the field so beware, however in my experience with distant geese it is far easier to pick out a Greenland on the dark upperparts than on the bill colour.

(Greenland White-fronted Goose and Tundra Bean Goose - © John Bridges)
Nothing I can really say that I haven't already, features that cannot be seen in these shots but may be seen in the field is that all the birds have orange legs. This photo shows the top of both the birds legs revealing the orange colouration of the legs.

Glad I managed to catch up with them before they left, a brilliant treat.

Until next time, Foghorn out!


  1. great selection - the Greenland yet another new bird for the site...
    shame he didnt get a shot of the 5 grey geese together.

    1. As always John has produced the goods, I am dreading the day he shows me the picture of the strange grey winged Gull on pool 2 and I burst out in tears haha