Greater White-fronted Goose at Van Cortlandt Park
It has been over two months since the Greater White-fronted Goose was found at Van Cortlandt Park in New York City’s northernmost borough, the Bronx. Andrew Baksh, Birding Dude, has been keeping close tabs on it during his weekly Van Cortlandt Park bird walks since, and I figured it was time that I made a serious attempt at it when I had some time last week. (An earlier attempt, back in December, was half-hearted and unsuccessful.)
I got out of my car and walked up to the parade grounds where large numbers of Canada Geese often forage. And while I was expecting quite a few geese I was surprised by the sheer number present. The entire southeastern quarter of the parade grounds was a carpet of geese! I sighed, set my scope up, and started scanning. It didn’t take long to find the one goose that didn’t look like the others and I had my Anser albifrons for the year.
I was wondering if I would be able to identify this bird as to its origins – Greater White-fronted Geese in the northeastern United States could be coming from Greenland or from the Alaskan and Canadian breeding population. Despite my best efforts (and the assistance of Sibley) I remain uncertain as to which population this individual comes from. What I do know is that those dark spots on the bird’s belly make it really obvious why the species is often colloquially referred to as “Specklebellies.”
Eventually a bunch of the Canada Geese took off and flew over to the lake and the specklebelly went with them. I birded around a little more and then made my way down to the lake where I reconnected with the Greater White-fronted Goose.
If you want to learn a whole lot more about Greater White-fronted Geese, especially the west coast population (and see some great pictures), check out Larry’s post from last week.
If you liked this post and want to see more great images of birds make sure to check out 10,000 Clicks, our big (and growing) page of galleries here at 10,000 Birds.