Friday, January 12, 2018

Friday's Foto

The year 2017 held one final surprise for some Brooklyn birders. A rare Greater White-fronted Goose was found by Shane Blodgett at the end of the day on December 29th. It was too late for me to go look for it near Floyd Bennett Field, so I went out early the next day. I eventually refound it with Josh Malbin at the Marine Park Golf Course. It wasn't a county bird for me as I'd seen one at Calvert Vaux Park in 2011.

The Greater White-fronted Goose is a dark, stocky goose with a black tail, large black splotches on the belly, white rump and bright orange legs. It has white facial feathers around the base of the pinkish-yellow & orange bill (one colloquial name is "specklebelly"). Found only west of the Mississippi River in North America, this long distance migrant nests on Arctic tundra. There are also populations in Europe.

Like many species of goose, their diet is primarily plant material - seeds and waste grain in winter; stems and roots, berries and buds during the breeding season.

According to the IUCN Red List, the conservation status for this species is "Least Concern".

Their scientific name, Anser albifrons, means goose; white-fronted.

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