Sunday, November 27, 2011

Do You Need A Euro?

Yesterday’s south westerly gales blew overnight, but this morning was at least bright if still windy. It wasn’t a morning for walking, more like trying to stay upright against the strong blasts of cold air. It was warm enough in the car so I checked Fluke Hall Lane first where 45 Whoopers were still on Swan Lake and then close by, about 50 Pink-footed Goose with 2 White fronted Geese of the European variety.

In the UK, two races of White fronted Geese (Anser albifrons) overwinter, generally Greenland birds in Scotland and Ireland, with Russian/European birds in England and Wales, with this winter seeing an as yet unexplained, and greater than normal influx of the euro birds. In North America where the Greenland race occurs, it is known as the Greater White-fronted Goose, so named for the patch of white feathers bordering the base of its bill. But even more distinctive are the barred markings on the breast of adult birds, which is why the goose is called the "Specklebelly" in North America.

The 2 whitefronts separated off and flew inland, but just up the road near Lane Ends I was to see 3 others. Jackdaws and Woodpigeons crowded in the stubble, panicking off occasionally to allow a rough count of 300 each. 4 Skylarks here too. There was nothing doing at Fluke hall itself except for the unusual sight of a drake Pintail on the wooded pool, perhaps a casualty of last week’s shoot.


The fields adjoining Backsands Lane were full of mainly Lapwings and Golden Plover with a small number of Redshank, probably 2000 Lapwings, 1200 Golden Plover and 50 Redshank. I guess the severe overnight winds had driven them all off the marshes to seek shelter behind the sea wall, but the accompanying rain also brought food near the surface of the now puddled fields.

Lapwing and Golden Plover


In the field opposite Lane Ends were 3 more White-fronted Goose, one limping quite badly, a feature which may serve to keep track of it in the next week or two. I chanced a walk to the pools where 2 Goldeneye and 2 Tufted Duck remain, but no wind-blown waifs and strays. In the trees near the car park were 1 Treecreeper, 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 4 Chaffinch and 8 Long-tailed Tits.

White-fronted Goose

I drove up to Knott End to see what the tide had blown in. No unexpected seabirds or gulls, but the usual fare of Eider, but 29 a good count, 40 Turnstone, 22 Sanderling, 120 Oystercatcher, 19 Twite and 12 Red-breasted Merganser.



Mary Howell Cromer said...

I am bringing the Sanderling home with me, oh my, what a beauty...fantastic image Phil!

"Specklebelly"...what a funny name.

Be safe in those gusty cold winds, would not desire you to take a fall!

Have a wonderful week~

news said...

Hi Phil: Large nos: of waders on Friday in same fields along with 8/9 Little Egrets sheltering under the seawall.Nice to be out again .Best wishes JWB.

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