Monday, 16 March 2009

Owlcyon days come to an end....

On the goose: rather disappointingly only one person has voiced their opinion so far and they are leaning toward it being a pink-foot, mainly on the basis of the bill colour.
Certainly, in one of the pics it doesn't appear orange at all although on another it does! In the field, the bill was definitely brighter and seemingly 'orangey' compared to the pinkfeet around it.
One of the things that struck Dan and I was the clear white edging to the tertials and greater coverts, giving the bird a much more contrasty appearance than the nearby pinkfeet - a feature maybe supporting bean, though probably not enough. Structurally, the head did seem longer with something of a peak (we said like a mini-whooper swan at the time), though nowhere near as distinct as one would hope for. And it is clearly a big, robust bird with longer legs than the other geese it was with.
What are the odds of a hybrid? We all know how catholic wildfowl can be when it comes to getting off with anything with webbed feet... Just a thought.
Now if it is a orange-legged pinkfooted goose I'd definitely say that that was more unusual than a white wag in mid-March.

Back to this evening's sightings, or lack of. I got to Freeman's Pools just before 6pm and nothing had been spotted (except for a lovely white stoat...).
By 6.45pm it was almost dark and just Benjie and I were left and as I was about to give up the barn owl suddenly appeared, and almost as suddenly disappeared having flown around the pool edge and through the pathway trees and toward the stubble fields.
This could support a theory I conjured up yesterday, that having battered the hell out of the vole population around the pools for a number of weeks, the owls were now hunting elsewhere - hence no long-eared for 2 nights (and its 'unusual' behaviour on Saturday). Also, when the SEO made a brief appearance a few nights ago it also made straight for the fields south of the pools and disappeared. Of course, the LEO could simply have headed off back to Norway or wherever...
Just after the barn owl showed, a woodcock flew in from Freeman's Wood and a snipe had been drumming briefly earlier.

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