Greenland White-fronted Goose

Big Flamborourgh Record

Excuse a little indulgence as I convalesce 😉 . Was quite chuffed to check out the top window of our house last week over looking the north side of Flamborough (Yes I know we are very blessed with where we live!) to see this bird. At about a mile away I thought I was watching the back of the head of a Greylag Goose (one of about 100 present) which seemed to flash some white at the bill base- “not seen one like that for a while’. Then a few moment later it turned around to reveal a proper white blaze, dark head and body a longish smoother thinner looking orange bill and… big black ‘speckled’ belly barring- whoop! a Greenland White-front. They seem to be rare at Flamborough. Indeed at cursory look I haven’t traced a previous record for the Headland yet. Could be a first.

I saw it on several subsequent days but always distant. however since the weekend (and I’m away) it appears daily with a few geese at the watering hole in the village- views much closer. Hence my indulgence with the photos of others…

Adult Greenland White-fronted Goose, Water Lane, Flamborough, Feb 2015. Brett Richards

Adult Greenland White-fronted Goose, Water Lane, Flamborough, Feb 2015. Brett Richards

Adult Greenland White-fronted Goose, Water Lane, Flamborough, Feb 2015. Andy Hood.

Adult Greenland White-fronted Goose, Water Lane, Flamborough, Feb 2015. Andy Hood.

Adult Greenland White-fronted Goose, Water Lane, Flamborough, Feb 2015. local photographer, Craig Thomas.

Adult Greenland White-fronted Goose, Water Lane, Flamborough, Feb 2015. local photographer, Craig Thomas.

Some other White-fronted Geese from east and west

We have managed to collect a few different images, nuances and taxa of the White-fronted Geese.

1st winter Greenland and Russian White-fronted Geese

Fuller post with videos HERE

 

1st winter Greenland Whitefront, Cleveland, 21 Jan. 2012 Martin Garner

1st winter Greenland Whitefront, Cleveland, 21 Jan. 2012 Martin Garner

1st winter Greenland Whitefront with Russian Whitefronts Cleveland, 21 Jan. 2012 Martin Garner. Note the 1st winter Russian, head down in centre and compare bill shape and extent of white with bird in Israel below.

1st winter Greenland Whitefront with Russian Whitefronts Cleveland, 21 Jan. 2012 Martin Garner. Note the 1st winter Russian, head down in centre and compare bill shape and extent of white with bird in Israel below.

1st winter Greenland Whitefront with Russian Whitefronts, Cleveland, 21 Jan. 2012 Martin Garner

1st winter Greenland Whitefront with Russian Whitefronts, Cleveland, 21 Jan. 2012 Martin Garner

Eastern/ Pacific White-fronted Goose.

Talking about birds which are more normally seen wintering along the Pacific Rim – albicans and frontalis. Still think this one looks about right. Written up more fully HERE.

First winter probable 'Eastern'Whitefront, Yotvata, Israel, Yoav Perlman

First winter probable ‘Eastern’Whitefront, Yotvata, Israel, Yoav Perlman

 

First winter probable 'Eastern'Whitefront, Yotvata, Israel, Yoav Perlman

First winter probable ‘Eastern’ Whitefront, Yotvata, Israel, Yoav Perlman

Russian White-fronted Geese

Adult and 1st w Russian Whitefront at Seaton Common, January 2012, Tristan Reid

Adult and 1st w Russian Whitefront at Seaton Common, January 2012, Tristan Reid

Russian White-front with orange bill. More HERE.

orange-pink-whitefronts-fronted-geese-slimbridge-14-10-11-j-lees-c

Greenland White-front with pinky bill. More HERE.

james-mccallum-11

 

 

7 thoughts on “Greenland White-fronted Goose

  1. Richard Klim

    Martin, re your continued use of the name albicans, see Banks 2011.
    http://www.jeaniron.ca/2011/Banks-GWFG-PBSW-11.pdf

    “The population of eastern Eurasia was distinguished from the western nominate form by Mooij (2000:386) and Mooij & Zöckler (2000:101) on the basis of its somewhat larger size. Those authors used the subspecific name A. a. albicans “according to Gmelin 1788, quoted by Alphéraky (1904).” Gmelin (1788:416) listed the name albicans only in reference to “Branta albifrons Scop.,” of which it is clearly a synonym, and gave no indication, at any rate, that it would apply to birds of eastern Asia. The name is mentioned by Alphéraky (1905:42) only in the extensive synonymy of the species Anser albifrons as “Anas albicans (errore), Gmelin” which is as it was cited by Salvadori (1895:92). It is clearly not an available name (ICZN 1999) and cannot be applied to any population of Anser albifrons. Delacour (1954), and those who followed him, also divided the Eurasian population into two, but with different boundaries, referring the eastern birds to the North American A. a. frontalis.”

    Banks doesn’t recognise frontalis: the Palaearctic subpopulation is included in nominate albifrons (reflecting only clinal variation across Eurasia), whilst the Nearctic subpopulation is separated as sponsa Banks, 2011. This treatment has been adopted by H&M4 and IOC.

    Reply
    1. Martin Garner Post author

      Thanks for this. Some information and a references I have not fully explored. I include in the blog post, albicans as Richard Millington brought it nicely to my attention in his chapter in ‘Frontiers in Birding’. There is a very comprehensive overview of all the literature with plenty of confusing taxonomic, nomenclature and spelling twists and turns in his chapter. It’s nay simple!

      To me, having seen frontalis in N America, the bird in Yoav’s photo looks very similar and I the idea that albicans is a synonym of frontalis would not surprise me at all. However having- no doubt like you – encountered so many taxonomic declarations of certainty compete followed by complete capitulation- so many times- I’m generally not in a hurry to close one down, being more inclined to flag up that here are one or two options of the table, still being explored.

      In this regard the chapter in Frontiers, at the time, kept albicans on the table as there was not awareness that all the breeding biology, habit selection, migratory routes and fullest data on morphology has been teased out, never mind molecule biology.

      More to figure out here me thinks. 🙂

      Best wishes, Martin

      Reply
      1. Richard Klim

        Martin, I’m not disputing the fact that there may be a valid case for treating E Siberian birds as a distinct subspecies. But it seems clear that albicans is a synonym of albifrons and not an available name. Mooij & Zöckler (as cited by Richard M) were mistaken to apply it to this population. I’m just concerned that that you’re giving traction to their error, potentially creating taxonomic headaches for years to come…

      2. Martin Garner Post author

        My apologies Richard, I didn’t fully appreciate what you were saying. On that basis will tend to avoid albicans

  2. Pingback: Greenland and Russian White-fronted Geese | Birding Frontiers

  3. Pingback: Taiga White-fronted Goose In Britain | Birding Frontiers

  4. Liaqat Ali

    Need help….! I have a pair of white fronted geese but i don’t know about male and female in them.they both look same. some one guide me please as how to identify male and female in them????

    Reply

Leave a Reply