Greater White-fronted GooseBy
It may be my favorite goose, every sighting bringing back memories of chilly March nights in the Midwest, the tootling coming down from the sky as Greater White-fronted Geese moved north.
There’s another memory, too, attached to this species for me: it was the first “rare bird” I ever saw in New Jersey. Twenty-six years ago, I spent a bitterly cold and snowy afternoon standing on the roadside at Squibb, finally rewarded when the bird emerged for a moment from the massive pack of Canada Geese shielding it from view.
Greater White-fronted Goose has become a great deal more common in the state since then, but it’s still worth the chase. The bird in the photo was floating drowsily on the shallow Hackensack River this morning, just a few yards from the bank in Foschini Park.
It dozed nearly the entire time I was there, lifting its head just once or twice to keep tabs on the two Bald Eagles overhead and to show a decidedly pinkish bill–thus more or less confirming its origins as North American, Greenland birds said to have a clearer yellow tone to the soft parts.