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Bean Geese or Pink-footed Geese (Netherlands, Flevopolder) (1 Viewer)

Frank-birding

Frank van de Velde
Supporter
Last Friday (10th of January 2020) I took several images of Tundra Bean Geese (Netherlands, in the IJsselmeer polder). However, upon closer inspection in the corner of one image I noticed 3 geese flying (image attached). The double broad white bands on the tail of these geese remind me more of Pink-footed Goose than Tundra Bean Goose. Are these indeed Pink-footed?

Regards, Frank
 

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Frank-birding

Frank van de Velde
Supporter
I looked at several more images online of both Tundra Bean Goose and Pink-footed Goose in flight: I saw that there is much variation of the amount of white in TBG's tail and the width of the trailing white band. Some TBGs have as much white in their tails as the birds in my images. So I conclude that these are most likely TBG.
 

Alexander Stöhr

Well-known member
Hello Frank,

I think they are Pink Footed: while you are right, that the tail-band is variable in Bean Goose it still looks better for Pink Foot.
Please note, that the dark tail band often LOOKS narrower in bad, blurry and overexposed photos (like yours, as allways no offense!) due to photographic "burned-out"-effects.

Please note, that the pale grey wings with contrasting dark trailing edges in your birds are spot on for Pink footed. Bean Goose normally have more uniform darker wings, but some have paler wingcoverts, but not so extrem like your birds.

I hesitate to answer, the birds look dark brown in the middle picture and paler like Greyleg (some Greylegs sitting in the picture).
But the rump seems contrasting dark, so better for Pink footed, Greylegs have paler grey rump.
Also the darker wing-covert patch of many Greylegs should be seen, but not easy its easy burned out and therefore unvisible in pictures.

Please look here: https://www.brodowski-fotografie.de/bilder/kurzschnabelgans/flugbild1.jpg

Conclusion: Pink footed for me, due to wing pattern, dark brown body and dark rump (The Greylegs in the same picure appear paler and greyer).
In one bird I the head seems contrasting darker, a Pink Footed fieldmark.
 

Frank-birding

Frank van de Velde
Supporter
Hello Alexander,

Thank you very much for the time and effort to answer my question so comprehensively! (Despite the very poor quality of my images indeed...) Your explanation improved my insight in identifying Geese a lot, I really appreciate it.

Regards,
Frank
 

Frank-birding

Frank van de Velde
Supporter
Based on these features, how many Pinkfeets would you say there are in the middle picture?

Lützen

I would say there are probably none in the middle picture. The 6 flying Geese look more like Tundra Bean Goose to me, due to smallish white trailing band on tail and darker upper wings.

Frank
 

Alexander Stöhr

Well-known member
Hello Lützen,

sorry for the late reply:

I must admit that I mixed the pictures to get the maximum true feeling of the birds (especially concerning the tail pattern) as I got the feeling this might be pitfall pictures.
And then valued the fifth picture most, because there, the two Pink-footed looked best for this species and looked "the most real" to me.
And as a result, I only see three Pink Footed. Or if the mixing action fooled me: two Pink Footed and one bird that might be one ore a "pitfall-picture" Bean Goose.

Like you, the middle picture gave a different impresssion (one reason why I mixed the pictures to get a true impression of the birds): "I hesitate to answer, the birds look dark brown in the middle picture and paler like Greyleg (some Greylegs sitting in the picture)."

In the middle picture, the leftmost bird gives the impression of a Bean Goose to me, the dark areas are a better colour for this species as is the distribution of pale and dark in the wing. So I am with Frank, that there are no Pink Footed in the middle picture.

And there is a very good candidate for Pink Footed (just below the two flying birds in the fifth picture), that gives the right impression, including appearent colours. So there might be up to four Pink Footed in these pictures (combined): 2-3 flying and 1 sitting.

And last, isnt there a White-fronted Goose flying in the fifth picture (looks small, dark and has long, slender wings)?
 

lupokatja

Well-known member
To be honest, I don’t think there are any Pink Footed Geese (PFG) in these pictures. PFG are quite scarce in the general area where these were taken, so even though I know one was reported from that specific area on that date, I still think the prior odds are quite low. Not sure whether Frank was taking pictures of possible candidates or just retrospectively going through his photos to see whether it happened to be on one of them.

I think they are Pink Footed: while you are right, that the tail-band is variable in Bean Goose it still looks better for Pink Foot. Please note, that the dark tail band often LOOKS narrower in bad, blurry and overexposed photos (like yours, as allways no offense!) due to photographic "burned-out"-effects.
Not sure I understand what you are saying here. PFG normally have a broader white tailband and more extensive white upper tail coverts than Tundra Bean Geese (TBG), so "burn-out" would make TBG look more like PFG and make it harder to conclude that these are PFG. To me they look better for TBG than PFG even though the angle on many birds makes it difficult to judge.

Please note, that the pale grey wings with contrasting dark trailing edges in your birds are spot on for Pink footed. Bean Goose normally have more uniform darker wings, but some have paler wingcoverts, but not so extrem like your birds.
You sound very confident there, but in my experience wingcoverts on TBG can look quite pale, especially on pictures taken in low light.

In one bird I the head seems contrasting darker, a Pink Footed fieldmark.
And a good TBG fieldmark as well (when looking for Taiga Bean Geese) 😊

Cheers,

Lützen Portengen
 

Frank-birding

Frank van de Velde
Supporter
Hello Alexander and Lützen,

Not sure whether Frank was taking pictures of possible candidates or just retrospectively going through his photos to see whether it happened to be on one of them.

The latter, I was indeed retrospectively going over my images prior to deletion. In fact not even to see if there were any PFG in the images. I was actually in the area hoping to see a reported Rough-legged buzzard or a male Hen Harrier. (Preferably both ;) however in the end neither one materialised...).

I saw a great many TBG in the distance (and some Greylag Geese as well). At one point I thought something was slightly 'off' one some of the TBG. But as the weather (light, wind) was bad, I couldn't put up the scope, and judged it to be so unlikely anyway that any other geese than TBG and Greylags were out there, that I thought no more of it. Fortunately (or maybe not, given the resulting riddle :) I took several photos.

Later when browsing the images I noticed subtle differences between some flying birds and what I expected TBGs to look like in flight (somewhat broader white tailband and lighter coloured upper wings). Hence I posted this ID question.

It's a pity that I only noticed retrospectively, otherwise I would have put more effort into taking decent images.

Bye,
Frank
 

Alexander Stöhr

Well-known member
Hello Lützen and Frank,

thank you for your answer!

"Please note, that the dark tail band often LOOKS narrower in bad, blurry and overexposed photos (like yours, as allways no offense!) due to photographic "burned-out"-effects."

Not sure I understand what you are saying here. PFG normally have a broader white tailband and more extensive white upper tail coverts than Tundra Bean Geese (TBG), so "burn-out" would make TBG look more like PFG and make it harder to conclude that these are PFG. To me they look better for TBG than PFG even though the angle on many birds makes it difficult to judge.

I was surprised by this, because we both say the same here. One can say that the tail of a Goose is white with a dark tailband or dark, framed white? (Is a Zebra white with black stripes ore black with white stripes?) But I agree, as Frank has spoken of white tail-bands in his first post, so I should better have stayed with this.

I must admit that I was quite sure that the three birds in picture 5 (the picture, which I valuated most: wings not blurred, looking natural not as in picture 1, birds are not flying DIRECTLY away but slightly sidewards) are indeed PFG (two flying and one sitting). So I will write some more thoughts to this birds and hope you answer:

For me, the two birds flying together dont just have pale upperwings, but very pale grey (paler and greyer than the other flying geese in this picture) and reminded me of a Pink-Footed and looked to pale for grey-backed Beans.

And doesnt look the bird sitting below them not good for Pink-Footed? The back seems pale grey and the greater coverts even look paler. In my experience, in those Beans with a grey (not "normal-dark") back the greater coverts are as dark or darker than the rest of the back. While in PFG this pattern is regular.

I have looked at this picture on two screens now. and I understand when someone says that the bill colour cant be judged in a picture of this quality (you cant even be sure that the bill isnt covered by mud), but when you accept the bill colour is real, it SEEMS BETTER for PFG than for Bean?

I must admit that I have looked not very intense, when searching for Taiga Bean in the last years in Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. I saw some birds, that gave the right swan-like, long-necked impression but have found many birds that I couldnt assign to a (sub)species. So I gave up but I cant remember that I found a difference in head/neck contrast in Bean Goose there: some Bean have a darker head but not marked as in PFG.

But thats the point: I am always keen to learn from more experiencend people like you so one more reason to look at Bean Goose more in depth in the future!
 

lupokatja

Well-known member
I have attached 2 pictures of flying Tundra Bean Geese that I shot in low-light conditions. As you can see the upper-wings tend to appear rather pale grey on most birds, and even paler than on Frank’s pictures, where the viewing angle, distance, and lighting all seem to have been considerably worse.

Your judgement on the bill color of the bird sitting below the two flying birds (“it SEEMS BETTER for PFG than for Bean”) seems to be based on 4 (slightly lighter) pixels that don’t look particularly pinkish to me at all.

Cheers,
Lützen
 

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Alexander Stöhr

Well-known member
Hello Lützen,

thank you again for answering. I must admit, that I hesitate to answer:

I have learned much by reading your comments on BF regarding Taiga BG Identification, so I tend to bow to your experience.

But: I have looked at the picture 5 on some different screens now, and I am still not convinced that the 3 birds are Bean Geese. So I hope you will answer to my questions:

Your first picture is very overexposed and because of that the dark tail-band isnt visible and parts of the upperwing dont look pale grey, but burned out with to much contrast to be covered by the camera-sensor. As you can see the dark tailband of the two flying birds in Franks picture, I would say that his picture is better for judging contrasts and grey values in the wing?

Your second picture is better than Franks, but the wing contrast of the two flying Beans look less or at least the same than in Franks picture. At least to my eyes. Maybe someone can measure this using Photoshop?

We both say the same regarding the bill-colour of the sitting Goose in Franks picture 5: it is not clearly pinkish, neither I would have said its clear Bean-colour. This might be caused by small pixel-coverage or dirt/mud on the bill.
But: I thought the bill colour would fit Pinkfeet better than Bean, so I wrote "it SEEMS BETTER for PFG" in capitals to make this clear.
But as I have said before: I would like to learn from you: have you a different experience?

What is with the pale greater coverts in the sitting bird? Isnt that a good fieldmark of PFG?

Can you write something regarding the possible Greater Whitefronted Goose in Franks picture 5? As in your second picture,there is one clearly darker/browner bird in Franks picture that give the same impression like the two Greater WF in your second picture.

Thank you !
Alexander Stöhr
 
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