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A String of NJ Waterfowl

I was really lucky to have spotted this great flock of birds. There’s quite a variety of different breeds. Most of them are the common mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), but there’s obviously also the goose with the big basal knob.

Wikipedia tells me it’s a Chinese goose, a domesticated descendant of the swan goose (Anser cygnoides). It was unclear whether the bird was feral or perhaps someone’s egg laying pet. The Chinese goose can lay up to 60 eggs in a season.

There were also a pair of Canadian geese (Branta canadensis) heading up the rear. While the swan was almost territorial, these guys kept a bit of distance from the rest of the group.

The two birds pictured in the top-left below really stood out in person. I was unfamiliar with the breed and after some research am fairly confident these are pink-footed goose (Anser brachyrhynchus).

Another uncommon goose would have been the Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons). Of the sub-species that breed in Greenland (Anser albifrons flavirostris). Most of their population will actually winter in the British Isles, but a rare few will make the “wrong turn” and head for the Atlantic coast. I had great trouble distinguishing whether it was Anser brachyrhynchus or Anser albifrons flavirostris—so if anyone is anyone has any avian wisdom please let me know. Maybe it’s neither bird.

A rough count came up to about 125 birds. That was quite a surprising number to see on my afternoon walk. Needless to say I walked around.

The sky was pretty dreary. The ice mix from earlier in the week had melted everywhere except the sunless corners of felled trees—with some rad looking icicles forming at the outflows of the canal locks. The muddy path eventually made it was into my sneakers, and I decided to make my way back up the trail and back to work.

Something about the weather this time of year conjures images of sleeping giants and cozy fires in a pot-belly stove .



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