Nov 12, 2011

Geese and Swans

Øygarden again and Herdla. Found a flock of 13 Pinkfeets with a Bean Goose amongst them on Breivik. Shy birds, so it was difficult to say if it was a serrirostris/ rossicus or fabalis. Size with long neck and bill shape and pattern suggests the latter. Also here a flyby Two-barred Crossbill, a Tree Sparrow and two White-tailed Eagles.
But the trip to Øygarden was a short one, because a flock of four Bewick's Swans was reported on Herdla (rare in Hordaland). When we came, the birds were gone...Here a Bean Goose as well, this one a Tundra Bean Goose (serrirostris/rossicus).  It was among a group of 15 or so White-fronted Geese.

adult White-tailed Eagle, Breivik

Bean Goose, Breivik. Long neck and long bill with much orange on it, suggesting fabalis
Bean Goose in a group of Pinkfeets (left bird)

Tundra Bean Goose

This indivual has the size of a Whitefront and has a bill of moderate size, quite stubby with the orange restricted to a band on the tip of the bill. I would claim it as a serrirostris/rossicus. On Taiga Bean Goose one would expect a larger bird, with a darker head and especially a longer bill with a greater amount of orange. Stand alone birds are often difficult to judge. I've seen thousands of bean geese in the Netherlands. Over there, Tundra is a common wintering bird, while Taiga is present each winter in small numbers, as it seems.
There is much discussion about taxonomy and identification of the Bean Goose-complex. It could well be that more taxa are involved during winter in western Europe than serrirostris and fabalis (it may well be that eastern, large subspecies like johanseni and middendorffii could turn up!). Interesting...

Whooper Swan, Herdla

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