Orange County Ross’ Goose followup

Pair of Tundra Swans at Warren Sod Farm today.

Pair of Tundra Swans at Warren Sod Farm today.


The bird that I believed to be a Blue Morph Ross’ Goose on Onion Avenue continued to be present today. It was seen by nearly two dozen birders throughout the course of the day. Yesterday, it was suggested that this bird might not be a pure Ross’ Goose, but rather a hybrid. Last night I sent the photos of the bird to Tom Burke hoping his expertise would lead to a conclusive answer to that question. Tom responded to me today, explaining that there is a good chance the bird is indeed a hybrid. Tom referred to the curvature of the feather line at the base of the bill (should be straight in a Ross’) combined with less than complete roundness of the head and a hint of a grin patch, as the factors that lead to that conclusion. For me, Tom is always the go to source for the right answer and while I am indeed disappointed, I know he is correct. (Thanks for your help Tom!) That said, this is a beautiful bird and was a pleasure for many to see over the last two days. I apologize if my misidentification of this bird caused anyone any inconvenience. The white morph Ross’ was seen again briefly today, but again it disappeared into the masses before a photo could be obtained. The bird is just so hard to discern in the numbers of birds present. All of this is most likely now moot. After I left this afternoon, I was notified that at 3pm, the geese took off and gained extreme altitude and ultimately headed north. There are still many great birds in the area. At least a pair of TUNDRA SWANS continue, seen throughout the afternoon on the Warren Sod Farm off rt. 12. Also, thousands of Canada Geese continue and the Greater White-fronted Goose (while not seen by me today) is most likely still present. Blackbirds still number in the thousands and EASTERN MEADOWLARKS were seen in two locations today. Hopefully, more Snow Geese will drop in in the coming days.
Two of three Eastern Meadowlarks found on Onion Avenue today by Bruce Nott.

Two of three Eastern Meadowlarks found on Onion Avenue today by Bruce Nott.

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6 Responses to Orange County Ross’ Goose followup

  1. Patty says:

    Thank You so much for this Blog. I love hearing about all the sightings and different birds that visit our area. Today I was lucky in that I walked out of my house, and a huge flock of Snow Geese flew overhead….so close that I could hear the wind going through their wings. They must have spent the night in the big corn field behind my house (Jessup Switch Rd. area). With the low angle of the sun, their bodies had a golden glow. It was just breathtaking……

  2. Kathleen Ashman says:

    While disappointing that it was not a Blue Morph Ross’ Goose, it was still a lovely and exciting bird to see. It was another glorious day for birding! Thank you for your diligence in identification, John! It’s one of the many reasons you are such an excellent birder.

    • Thanks Kathy, it really was a beautiful bird and everyone did enjoy it.  Its funny how the technicalities of birding can detract from something special.  At any rate it was good to see you and thanks for the support!  Best, John

  3. Chris Reiser says:

    That’s a bummer. We’re always learning:-) The ID pointers are so explicit.

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