Monday, November 10, 2014

Bean-goose on the loose!

We were nearing the end of a lovely beach weekend when Sarah received a potentially year-changing message on Facebook. "A possible bean-goose is in a field at Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge. If you're still at the coast, could you bring your scope and check it out?" Of course we could.

We brushed our teeth, packed our birding gear, and drove 5 miles south to the refuge, half-expecting to find a misidentified Greater White-fronted Goose. We were met there by Lee, the sharp-eyed refuge caretaker,  and she showed us the goose in question.

 With bright orange legs and an orange spot on a dark brown bill, It was indeed a bean goose!

 
But which kind? We took some photos and shared them with others and, based on the size and shape of the bill and neck, we determined that is most likely a Tundra Bean-Goose (Anser serrirostris), which is smaller-billed and shorter-necked than the Taiga Bean-Goose (Anser fabalis). As far as we know, this is the first Tundra Bean-Goose recorded in Oregon, if not the Lower 48. Way to go Lee!

We put our observation on the Oregon listserve and several other birders soon joined us and took better pictures than ours. Some non-birders stopped by and, after we showed them the goose, suggested that we name it Chester.

During the three hours that we watched the bean-goose (Chester?), it dined on tall grass, occasionally chased Dusky Canada Geese and Cackling Geese out of its personal space, and sat down for a few short naps, revealing its pale eyelids.

The bean-goose has been seen at the refuge today (Monday), so if you want to meet the region's rarest goose, call in sick and get yourself  to the coast!

2 comments:

  1. Chester!! I like it. I made it out there this morning after a nail-biting couple of last days in Massachusetts. Phew! Thanks for getting the word out!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm so glad you made it! Also, I'm relieved that the questions about Chester's toes seem to have been resolved.

    ReplyDelete