With debate over the provenance and even identification of a Lesser White-fronted Goose (with Taiga Bean Geese) in Norfolk, here’s a couple of hybrid Lesser White-fronted Geese which I’ve come across previously in the UK. One presumed wild and one not. Also a couple of presumed (and seemingly) normal Lesser White-fronts in captivity.
Rother Valley C.P. hybrid
The Rother Valley duo. Variously reported in the area over several years. I came across these 2 together RVCP in October 2008. At greater distance the Lesser White-front type looks pretty convincing. dark squarish head, prominent yellow orbital ring, long-looking primaries, short pink bill and white blaze looking OK. Its only when you see it a bit closer that it just doesn’t quite look the ‘full shilling’. Bill a tad long, white blaze not quite right.Even then it can be hard to put a finger on exactly why. In a distant wild goose flock I could be fooled, I think.
Few more pics below from Oct. 2008
Slimbridge hybrid Lesser White-front
I found this bird amoung the Russian White-fronts at Slimbridge on 15th February 2007 (It gets a mention in the ‘Frontiers in Birding‘ book). It looked like a Lesser Whitefront on steroids! It was large but with big dark, squared head, reduced black belly streaked, prominent yellow orbital ring, steep shortish pink bill and more extensive white. Although only seen the once that winter, it had been seen the previous winter regularly by WWT and we had come to the same conclusion on the bird’s ID.
Captive adult Lesser White-fronted Goose, Martin Mere WWT, March 2005