Photo of the Week: 20-26 February 2023


Greenland and Russian White-fronted Geese by Simon Knight



Two subspecies of Greater White-fronted Goose occur in Britain in winter, but their differing ranges mean that they don't routinely overlap. In fact, seeing both Greenland-breeding flavirostris and Russian-breeding albifrons at the same site is a notable event in itself, so to be afforded the opportunity to watch and photograph the two side by side is a rare treat indeed.

Photographer Simon Knight was in the right place at the right time to enjoy such an encounter on a recent trip to Islay, Argyll, where Greenland birds winter in large numbers but Russian birds are rare visitors. Simon's terrific shot shows adults of the two subspecies side by side, allowing for a wonderful comparison of their differing features. The Greenland bird on the left shows an overall darker plumage with an orange bill, while the Russian bird has a lighter plumage and a pale pink bill, as well as showing less extensive belly markings. This last feature is variable between individuals of both subspecies, but almost black-bellied birds are more commonly seen in flavirostris, adding to the overall darker impression of that form.


Other notable images


Greenshank, Normandy Marsh, Hampshire (Gary Faulkner).

Common Redshank, Portrush, Antrim (Jonathan Rosborough).

Eurasian Skylark, Newstead & Annesley CP, Nottinghamshire (Simon Richardson).

Woodlark, Elkesley, Nottinghamshire (Paul Coombes).

Tufted Titmouse, Central Park, New York (Matthew Barfield).

Pallas's Warbler, Attenborough NR, Nottinghamshire (David Carr).

Siberian Rubythroat, Trollhättan, Västra Götalands län (Andreas Gullberg).

Black Redstart, Barry, Glamorgan (Jeff Lack).

Goldfinch, Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire (Lee Fuller).

Mediterranean Gull, Slimbridge WWT, Gloucestershire (Ian Curran).

Common Pochard, Welney WWT, Norfolk (Alex Penn).

Tufted Duck, Hyde Park, London (Joe Downing).

European Herring Gull, Westing, Unst, Shetland (Robbie Brookes).

Grey Wagtail, Pateley Bridge, North Yorkshire (Irene Harrison).

Written by: BirdGuides