Sunday, March 04, 2007

Snow Geese at Sonny Bono NWR

We stopped at the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge in the southernmost part of the Imperial Valley of California. Yes, that Sonny Bono. It's quite wonderful. The first thing we noticed was the tremendous number of Snow Geese flying in. There are some Ross's Geese, too, but they're hard to pick out.

Here they are landing.

Overexposed but cool pic of a Snow Goose coming in for a landing.

Snow geese and what the ranger said was an Aleutian Goose among them. Some coots there, too.
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Dustin said...

The dark goose is actually an immature "blue" phase snow goose, the bird to its right is a Ross's Goose.

Betsy True said...

Thanks, Dustin. I wondered about that. Also, how can you tell that the right side bird is a Ross's?

Thanks for posting!

Anonymous said...

Ross's Goose has a rounded head, a Snow Goose will have a more block-like head. A Ross's Goose has a small triangular bill, with the border at base of bill being straight and vertical like this bird. The base of a Snow Goose's bill is strongly curved and has a large "grin-patch" that the Ross's Goose doesn't have. The goose behind the Ross's may be another Ross's based on head shape but angle is hard to tell.
This bird looks to be alerted to your presence so it has its neck outstretched, making it difficult to see that these birds are shorter necked than Snows.

Betsy True said...

Thanks so much! Good exercise for helping me learn Ross's vs Snow.