Friday, March 16, 2012

Less Goldcrests - More Geese

I checked Fluke Hall again this morning because after Thursday’s influx of Goldcrests I wanted to see how many were left after the clearer skies of last night. Seemingly most of them had moved on, with just a single sighting, the barely audible Goldcrest contact calls of yesterday replaced today by the ringing sounds of at least 3 Siskins high overhead.

It was very quiet otherwise, with a dozen or so Meadow Pipits and a single Pied Wagtail. On the blog yesterday I forgot to mention the 5 wary Barnacle Geese on the Hi-Fly stubble. The Barnacles were still there today, looking equally as wild and suspicious as the few Pink-footed Geese they fed with.

The Barnacle Goose has an interesting myth that dates back to the 12th century. These geese were thought to have hatched from barnacles "organisms that grow on timber exposed to salt water" furthermore creating a barnacle tree in which the geese lived in their shell hanging from the tree. The purpose of this myth was to allow religious folk to eat the meat during Lent under the delusion the tasty flesh of the goose was fish. It wasn't until the 17th century that scientists debunked the myth when they discovered that in the remote Arctic regions Barnacle Geese built nests in trees on high cliffs and when the goslings hatched, they fell into the water. This discovery put an end to the mystical tree growing geese and at the same time provided the species with a name.

No such legend for the White-fronted Goose that simply gets its name from their white patch above the bill. Near Lane Ends I found two in the same field again, one with a gammy leg which may account for them not venturing too far lately.

Barnacle Goose

White-fronted Goose

Nothing much to report from Lane Ends/Pilling Water sea wall stretch except the usual 2 Kestrel, 5 Little Egret, 1 Pied Wagtail, 12 Meadow Pipits, 1 Greenshank and 2 displaying Buzzards today. At the plantation I heard more Siskins overhead, watched a single Redpoll head north east and noted a fresh-in Reed Bunting. On the water - 2 Goldeneye and 2 Little Grebe.

Sea Wall - Pilling

Meadow Pipit

The Kestrel hovered into the wind and the light, and at the wrong angle to my camera.

Kestrel

Back at home 2 more Buzzards sailed over, heading out towards the copses near Staynall and the River Wyre.

6 comments:

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Oh my... the myth about the lovely Barnacle Goose... my, oh my what imaginations someone surely had, not only to begin such a myth, but to believe that for one minute if you are eating Goose meat, that somehow by some mysterious way, that it should taste like fish... Now that would be something. In the meantime the images of them and all others are wonderful. Happy evening Phil~

Stuart Price said...

Nice find, I never saw a Whitefront in the NW........

Tatjana Parkacheva said...

Beautiful photos.

Regards and best wishes

Cheryl said...

What a great story about the Barnacle Goose. I shot a hawkish bird this week and my angle was so much worse than this. Having trouble identifying it.

eileeninmd said...

Looks like you had a nice day for birding. Nice shots of the geese and the pretty Pipit.

Linda said...

I had never heard that myth...but I am sadly ignorant about birds. Just love to look at them, photograph them, and marvel...thanks for the info! Great photographs!

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