A novice birder's observation of birds and other natural wildlife with wings ... or maybe not with wings...
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Ross's Goose at Regents Park, London, Uk; 4/10/10.
We saw some pure white geese in Regents Park, which I at first dismissed as some domestic breed, but then at a closer look, I thought they could be a Snow Goose. When I zoomed in on my photos and looked at the beak of this bird, I realized it was a Ross's Goose (Above). The Ross's is smaller than a Snow Goose, has a rounder head, and its bill is smaller (in proportion) and doesn't have the Snow Goose trademark "grin." Its bill has a bluish hue at the base and the border where the bill meets the face is straight (Below).
A close up of the Ross's Goose bill showing the bluish hue at its base, Regents Park, London, UK; 4/10/10.
There is an interesting background of how the Ross's Goose acquired its name. The goose is named after Bernard Ross, who was the chief trader for the Hudson Bay Company in northwest Canada during the 1860's. In that position he was able to lend help to Robert Kennicott in his explorations of the area. In 1861, he sent a specimen of this small white goose taken at the Great Slave Lake, Canada, to Mr. Cassin for identification. Mr. John Cassin -- at that time the Curator of Birds at the Academy of Natural Sciences - honored Mr. Ross by naming this goose after him.
This species breeds in northern Canada and winters in the southern United States (primarily central California). Smaller numbers can also be found from Colorado to central Mexico and on the Texas coast. Scattered populations also exist along the East Coast. I never expected to see a Ross's Goose in London. But records show that it is a rare vagrant to Western Europe and individuals or small groups have turned up in Holland and Britain which have seemed to be of natural origin. It is known that the Ross's Goose is commonly kept in wildfowl collections, and so the true frequency of Ross's Geese being naturally wild in Britain is hard to calculate.
A couple of Ross's geese sunning themselves at Regents Park, London, UK; 4/10/10.
Hello, I have always been interested in birds, undoubtedly influenced by my mother and grandmother. As a young boy I remember paging through my parents' bird books. Both my Mom and Grandma would identify birds by both their songs and their looks. I enjoy nature and being out in it as often as I am able. Being a teacher helps - as I have much of the summer to do just that. I have done some nature and wildlife photography, but until a few years ago I never thought about photographing birds thinking that it would be too difficult - too small and too flighty. After a few thousand photos, my girlfriend suggested that I open a blog sharing some of the pictures that I have taken and hopefully will be taking in the future.
During the 3 years that have been writing this blog, I have graduated from my first camera, a Sony Digital, to my 2nd, a Canon Rebel T1i, to finally my 3rd and current camera - Canon EOS7D. I started with the standard 18-55mm lens, which I soon found was totally impractical. I then purchased a Canon 55-250mm which I used for quite some time, until I bought a Sigma 150-500mm.and finally sold that one and replaced it with a Sigma 150-600mm, my current birding lens.