Greater White-fronted Goose

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Greater White-fronted Goose: for more photos, see Sitka Nature Photo Gallery for Anser albifrons
Locale   Sp     Su     F     W     Br  
SE Alaska (edit) FC VR U VR -
Yakutat (edit) C - C - -
Skagway (edit) + - - - -
Haines (edit) U + U + -
Glacier Bay (edit) FC VR FC VR -
Juneau (edit) FC U O VR -
Sitka (edit) U + U VR -
Stikine (edit)
S Outer Islands (edit)
Ketchikan (edit) C VR U - -
Offshore (edit)
Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons): Fairly Common in spring and Uncommon in fall migration except in northern Lynn Canal, with most individuals not spending long in the region. Occasional stragglers linger into summer or winter.

When not flying overhead, found along salt water beaches, meadows, and lakes.

Observations are primarily of subspecies A. a. frontalis, likely breeding in western and northwestern Alaska. There are occasional sightings of the larger and darker subspecies A. a. gambeli (also known as Tule Goose), which breeds around Cook Inlet in southcentral Alaska.

  • Typical migration window for spring and fall?
  • Northern Lynn Canal outside typical flyway?
  • More likely to fly over without stopping in the fall? (cf. BoW account)
  • High counts?

SEAK QBR Mentions

  • Sp2009: larger than average numbers from 19 April - 17 May at KTN, WRG, SIT, GUS. Peak of 5000 in 2.5 hours at KTN afternoon of 21 April. Report of three 'Tule' geese in JNU 15 May. Not formally documented in region.
  • Su2009: Birds lingering into season at JNU (two on 3 June), GB (seven on 5 June) and SIT (one through 10 July). An adult, at JNU 19 July first recorded at Mendenhall wetlands in July.
  • F2009: Large passage through region in late September. Flocks flying over KTN on 24 Sept, including 6800 counted during two short intervals. Such numbers are unprecedented for the area in the fall. Late bird lingered in SIT through 18 October.
  • Sp2011: "Tule" goose photographed at SIT 22 May. (Includes notes on wintering and breeding range). One prior Fall record from JNU (1Sep 2003), plus two May reports of probable Tule Geese (1 May 2005, May 2009?)
  • Sp2012: Tule Goose photographed a Sitka is third documented for region, and second spring in a row at Sika
  • F2012: One at JNU 20 October new local late date. Individuals at KTN 20-21 Oct and 18 Nov were very late. Most migrants pass through from late August to late September.
  • Sp2013: One at KTN 21 March several weeks earlier than previous local earliest (wintered nearby?). Very strong migration late April-early May, especially in northern SEAK. GUS high counts of 1100 on 27 April, and 780 on 6 May; JNU peak 350 27 April with additional counts 100-200 through 22 May; SIT 1000 flying over 27 April; SGY 75 on 2 and 8 May; WRG 150 on 24 April, 400 at Dry Straits 8 May; KTN flocks noted flying over 26-30 April max 4500 during one 5.5 hour period 27 April, flock on the ground up to 140 on 15 May unusually large for area.
  • Su2013: Flocks into mid-June following noteworthy Spring. GUS peak 26 on 2 June and 27 on 16 June; JNU up to 10 on 2 and 4 June, 5 still present through 29 June; Saltery Cove on POW had 13 18-21 June. Latest in region 2 at GUS on 4 July.
  • F2013: One at Sitka to 28 November quite late. Stragglers quite rare after October.
  • W2013-2014: One lingered to 1 Dec at SIT. Fewer than 10 Alaska records of this species.
  • W2014-2015: One at Game Creek, Chichagof Island Nov - 11 February. Fewer than 10 mid-winter reports in state, all from SEAK.
  • Sp2015: Three at GUS 7 April were about a week ahead of typical. Large movement occurred throughout the region beginning on 20 April. JNU max 400 on 20 April; GUS max 550 on 20 April; KTN max 2350 on 21 April
  • Su2015: Small numbers regularly linger into June. This year, 30 at GUS and 27 at JNU on 3 June. Eight at PBG on 15 July rare mid-summer report.
  • W2015-2016: Late individuals GUS to 4 Dec and JNU to 15 Dec; Two spent entire winter at HNH.
  • Wp2016: Wintering HNH birds present into March with one present to 11 April. At least 20 at GUS on 19 March earliest ever migrants at location by more than two weeks. Massive flight over KTN on 18 April. Between 12pm and 2:30pm an estimated 33,000 GWFG. Later same day flocks observed over Icy Strait, including minimum 3000 over GUS and 2000 (mostly GWFG) over HNH.
  • Sp2017: One Tule Goose at KTN 13 May was first local record. Only 4th or 5th documented for SEAK. One collared bird seen at KTN had collar attached in Sept 2013. Wintered primarily at Delevan NWR, California, located in upper Cook Inlet several times following summer.
  • Su2017: Bird at GUS to 5 June. Two at JNU on 4 July were unusual mid-summer. Only 2nd July record for JNU.
  • F2017: Late flock at CRG 22 on 25 October. Lone bird at JNU through 11 Nov.
  • F2018: One at JNU through 2 Nov; singles at KTN 10 and 17 Nov; up to nine at KLWK through 19 Nov; PBG through Nov including max of 14 on 29 Nov

Local Notes

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Other References

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