Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ross's Geese

One or two reports of Ross's Geese have been floating around from Ocean and Atlantic counties for a while now, but I only just got sent pictures of them, so here are some for you to enjoy. Ross's Geese are more or less annual in New Jersey with an apparent increase in records in recent years resulting in it no longer being considered a state rarity since January 2002. This increase has been mirrored to some degree in Western Europe, where Ross's Geese occasionally show up in large flocks of Pink-footed Geese (appropriate to, mention that given New Jersey's first ever Pink-footed Goose currently lurking in Bergen County!), though European records (and perhaps those in the eastern US too) are always potentially muddied by the escape possibilty from wildfowl collections. It's tempting to see this perceived change in Ross's Goose occurences as being in line with changes in a number of other high Arctic breeding species over the last 20 years or so.

Ross's Goose at Brigantine (Forsythe) NWR on Sunday 13th. The smallness of this species always seems apparent, even when a bird is alone. The bill is shorter relative to the head size of the bird than is the case with Snow Goose, while the head and neck are smaller relative to the body size. [photo by Marvin Hyett]

Ross's Goose at Brigantine (Forsythe) NWR on Sunday 13th. When seen next to a Greater Snow Goose, the size difference really is obvious (though remember that size difference is a little less obvious when compared with Lesser Snow Goose). [photo by Marvin Hyett]

Ross's Geese, Shelter Cove Park, Toms River. These two birds have been present at this location since at least February 23rd but seemed to get a few more visitors this sunny weekend! An extra feature visible here is the classic blue bill base typical of Ross's Goose [photo by Mike Hannisian].

Ross's Geese, Shelter Cove Park, Toms River. Even though the Canada Geese are much further back, the small size of Ross's Goose is readily apparent here [photo by Mike Hannisian].

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