Greater White-fronted Goose, Anser albifrons, Myer's Point, Lansing, Tompkins Co., NY, 24 February 2001; with some comments on domestic geese and hybrids.
Pictures taken with an Olympus D-450 digital camera through a Swarovski HD80 spotting scope.
All photos © Kevin J. McGowan
Discovered by Jeff Gerbracht off the south shore in a large flock Canada Geese. It was Ithaca newcomer Jeff's persistence in looking through the geese that we regulars ignored, and his persistence in coming back to this same odd goose that got me to look at it and realize it was a "real" White-fronted Goose.
Notice the thin white line behind the orange/pink bill, the thin bill itself, and the relatively small head of this relatively small goose. The belly was never seen by us.
Confusing Domestics: also present at Myer's are some domestic "Greylag" type geese that show White-front patterning. I always want to hear a few details with a White-fronted Goose sighting to assure that the observer (especially a novice observer) did not confuse a domestic goose. If you just look in most field guides and try to match plumage patterns, the only option for the following geese are White-fronted Goose. But they're not!
These geese were present in the marina at Myers on the same day the White-front was off the south shore. Notice the general similarity in pattern to the White-front, but a completely different shape and size. Domestic geese are bred to be big and provide a lot of meat, hence they are very bulky.
Their necks are thick, their bodies are very bulky with extreme bellies on land and a big butt on the water. Their bills tend to be thickened at the base behind the nostrils, often with a large knob. Compare this face with the White-front and you'll see a quite different profile.
Domestic geese can be any color between completely gray (wild type) to completely white, but they are always big and blocky with a different bill shape. For more pictures of confusing domestic geese, go to my domestic goose page.
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