Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2004-32

Common name:


Scientific name: Branta bernicla
Date: October 13, 2004
Time: 10:45 a.m.
Length of time observed: Fifteen minutes
Number: One
Location: Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge
County: Boxelder
Distance to bird: Approximately 200 yards
Optical equipment: Nikon 10 x 40 Monarch binoculars and Swarovski ST-80-HD scope
Weather: Sunny, calm and 55 degrees
Light Conditions: Very good
Detailed description of bird: This bird had a black head, neck and breast. It was dark on the back and wings with a very noticeable white rump and some vertical white markings on the flanks. It had a stubby beak and a white "necklace."  (see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: None heard
Behavior: The bird was alone except for an occasional coot or grebe swimming by. It was moving about freely and foraging in perhaps a fifty foot radius during the time we observed it. On several occasions, the Brant "tipped up" and came to the surface with its bill full of some type of plant material.
Habitat: Open water inside the auto tour loop (Unit 2).
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
The all black head and face distinguishes the Brant from all other geese. The dark juvenile Ross's Goose has a dark head and face, but no necklace. The dark juvenile Snow Goose has a dark head and face, but no necklace and no white rump.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
This is the first time I have seen a Brant. I am quite familiar with the other geese seen in Utah (Canada, Greater White-fronted, Ross's and Snow).
References consulted: The Sibley Guide to Birds when the Brant was located. Several other field guides and reference books when compiling this report.
Description from: Notes made later
Observer: Pomera M. Fronce
Observer's address: 2118 East 4850 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84117
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Initial sighting of the bird by Karen Welch on October 10, 2004. Observed today by Kent Lewis, Lee and Paula Shirley, Bob Huntington and Bridget Olson.
Date prepared: October 13, 2004   (General Public)
Additional material:  
Additional comments: Photos may be forwarded at a later date depending upon their quality.