Ross’s Goose at Stanwick GP

It doesn’t say much for your birding day when the best bird on the tally is an escape. But today it was. I have not seen a Ross’s Goose in Northants before. Norfolk with thousands of Pinkfeet, in the winter, yes.  This one was with Greylags in the north-east corner of the main lake at Stanwick Gravel Pits.

The species is said to be widely kept in captivity and, despite a recent increase in records in Europe mirroring significant population increases in North America, it is still a BOU category D species, i.e. not (yet) on the official British List.

Ross’s Goose, Stanwick GP, 11th August 2013 (Mike Alibone) 

Compact, neat, dinky goose – a really nice bird and arguably not a candidate for the Gruesome Goose Gallery! Differences from Snow Goose include smaller size, shorter neck and smaller, shorter more triangular bill, lacking the ‘grinning patch’ (black borders to the cutting edges of upper and lower mandibles) which is obvious on the bill of a Snow Goose. The bill also has a bluish base, which can develop into caruncles (bluish warty bumps) with age. I thought the bill on this bird looked fractionally too large, which made me wonder if it was a 100% pure Ross’s Goose …

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