Thursday, 1 January 2015

Venus Pool - Greenland White-fronted Goose

'Twas a low key start to the year, on patch in Shropshire with a bit of mystery goose to unravel as daylight broke! A group of three birders were scanning one of the fields opposite Venus Pool (from the metal gate situated across the access road).

"Anything interesting? I asked. "pretty sure we've got a White-front" came the reply.....

Unfortunately it was in with a big flock of Greylags over the distant ridge and with just heads appearing every now and then, it took another 40 minutes or so before 'interesting' Goose in question duly got my interest going!! Here's why...


It certainly was a White-fronted Goose! But just look at that striking dark head!


And eventually as the flock moved further away in the field, the whole goose could at last be seen!


We weren't looking at any old White-front, the dark plumage, head and orange bill all pointed to the Greenland race (Anser albifrons subsp flavirostris) . The European race is a rare occurrence nowadays in Shrophire but the Greenland birds seem to be in steep decline even in their regular wintering grounds in Scotland. It's not just a smart rarity - an absolute 'mega'  for the shire!


 With the flock becoming more distant and record shots in the bag, a move to the pool was on the cards and after 20 minutes of accumulating a stack of year ticks (for the list I'm not doing - honest!!) A large flock of Greylags flew in..... Including......


Nice comparison shots. Could it ever be in doubt?




And eventually a bit closer by itself.....




Eventually it ended up more distant, on the island left of the hide.




Not a bad Shropshire bird to start the New Year? Maybe I'll do a Venus Pool year list, maybe not, we shall see.......

If you want to compare and contrast European with Greenland races, there are a few images of the 2013 European duo (also at VP) in my gallery here. Note the slightly smaller pinkish bill, pale head and plumage generally (expecially the breast) with the European race.

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