Monday, September 16, 2013

The Last of the Geese

My last get-able goose of the year (if I don't go to the east coast this winter) came in the form of a Ross's Goose. Two had been reported the past two days from Hugo, MN, just outside the Twin Cities. This morning, before class, I made a quick trip over to see if they would continue.

Upon arrival, the two small white geese were mixed in with some Canadas. I inspected them both closely as hybrids or intermediate birds are not uncommon. One bird looked great for a pure Ross's, while the other one left me with some uncertainty.

First, we have the good-looking adult Ross's Goose.

Ross's Goose
Notice the short, thick neck, round head, small triangular bill that is straight at the base, and no noticeable "grin patch".

The second bird however, has a few intermediate traits.

Small, white goose
At times, this looked great for a Ross's, but depending on posture, other times it did not. In this photo, it looks more Ross's-like. In the field, it appeared to have a slightly longer, thinner neck and less-round head. It also has a small "grin patch". The base of the bill is mostly straight. Interesting...

Ross's Goose is my 539th bird photographed this year. This photographic big year is an effort to raise awareness and funds for the American Bird Conservancy's work with endangered Hawaiian birds. To see how you can help, click here.

Still waiting to see a Philadelphia Vireo. I better hurry, the window is closing...

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