Green­land white­fronts

Shooting Times & Country Magazine - - CONTENTS -

Last March, a fam­ily party of white-fronted geese spent a week on our marsh in Nor­folk. I showed my pho­to­graph (above) to a bird­watch­ing friend, who sug­gested that the birds might be Green­land white­fronts. What do you think?

I be­lieve that your friend is cor­rect. The Green­land race of white-fronted goose was first de­scribed by Peter Scott in 1948, and is quite dis­tinct from the far more nu­mer­ous Rus­sian white­fronts. Green­land white­fronts (Anser alb­ifrons flavi­rostris) are gen­er­ally much darker than the Rus­sian birds and have orange-yel­low (as op­posed to pink) bills. They are also slightly larger, longer necked and have big­ger bills. The birds in your pho­to­graph fit this de­scrip­tion well.

Most of the Green­land pop­u­la­tion win­ters in Ire­land and the western is­lands of Scot­land, par­tic­u­larly Is­lay, but wan­der­ing birds have been in­creas­ingly recorded on the east coast of Eng­land. This is prob­a­bly due to more bird­watch­ers look­ing out for these geese, and hav­ing the skill to iden­tify them cor­rectly. DT

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