At about 3pm today I found an apparent Bean Goose with 18 Greater
White-fronted Geese NW of Madison, Lac qui Parle County. It was at a wetland
on the west side of 211th Ave about a quarter mile south on Hwy75 (section
12, Arena Twp.) adjacent to the Madrena WMA.
The bird was studied for about a minute before the goose flushed when I left
the car and it and six of the white-fronteds flew west while the rest took
to the water. The group flew low and fast toward the NW then slowly drifting
west then south then I lost view of them behind the trees of the Madrena
WMA. I spent the next several hours searching wetlands to the west without
luck. Close to sundown a dozen white-fronted geese were still at the
original location but without the bean.
It was similar overall to the rest of the white-fronted geese I at first
thought it was an aberrant individual of the same species. It was slightly
larger then the rest of the geese with a longer slimmer neck, overall darker
plumage with more defined scalloping on the back and wings. When I thought
it might be a rare Eurasian goose species like Bean or Pink-footed I didnít
know the fine points of identification off the top of my head but knew the
beak was most diagnostic. The beak was slightly longer and slimmer then
those of the white-fronteds with the distal third being orange-yellow with a
black tip and the basal two-thirds also being black.
Bean Goose was split into two species several years ago. This bird appears
to be the Taiga Bean-Goose (Anser fabalis) rather then the Tundra species
(A. serrirostris) due to its longer slender beak without a thick base,
larger size and longer, slim neck. I know there are a handful of interior
records in North America (including Iowa and Nebraska) but Iím currently not
aware which species/subspecies those records refer to or the dates of
I uploaded the best of three photographs to the recently seen page on the
Bill J. Unzen
Lac Qui Parle County.
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