Monday, February 29, 2016

Greater White-fronted Goose, My Newest Queens County Bird

It is getting harder to add new birds in my home county of Queens NY. When I found out via the RBA (Rare Bird Alert) on the 12th of February that a Greater White-fronted Goose was seen at Flushing Meadow Park in Queens on February 10th. I was like Blistering Barnacles!?! With all the tools these days that are used to report birds, I was disappointed that this bird was not posted or shared for several days. It is not like GWFG is a common bird in Queens. Heck, according to eBird this was only the 4th such record. I looked for the Goose the following day (Saturday) in frigid temperatures with no luck.  Another Queens birder, Corey Finger, who works his county list with religious fervor, also had no luck on that day. An entire week went by and life and work got in the way of checking for that bird again. Truthfully, I had chalked it up as a miss. On Sunday February 21st, when I got a text message from Corey that the Greater White-fronted Goose was being seen again at Flushing Meadow Park, I swung into gear, elated that I had another crack at the bird. Not without some drama though, as Corey texted me while I was suiting up to report that the Goose had flown after being flushed by a dog. It did not go far though and ended up at the north end of Flushing Meadow Lake and was still there when I arrived.

Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons)
I spent some time watching the Goose on the lake and then on the shores where I observed its behavior as it fed among a flock of "white-cheeked Geese" it was associating with. This was one of the palest GWFG, I have seen and it seemed a good fit for a. albifrons it seemed rather paler looking than a.flavirostris which is the Greenland race .  It appeared comfortable and only got nervous when dogs were in the vicinity. It was a dog that caused it to relocate as I watched it get spooked onto the Lake by one park visitor who thought nothing to have his dog wander off-leash.

Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons)
Here is one of the last looks that I had that day of the Greater White-fronted Goose as it sat on the lake after being flushed by an unleashed dog. There are park rules about dogs off-leash but it seems most people don't care to follow them and often no one from Parks is around to enforce these rules. Too bad because several birders who arrived a bit later could not re-find the Greater White-fronted Goose. Making me even more grateful that I saw it when I did.

2nd from R- Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons)

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