Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The Geese Are Getting Fat

Eurasian white-fronted geese
Following the discovery of 5 Eurasian white-fronted geese on the Lune on Friday, I headed off to Aldcliffe Marsh this morning with the hope that they may still be around. Initially seen from the Golden Ball on the Oxcliffe side of the river, the quintet were apparently associating with greylags, rather than pinkfeet.
I eventually discovered the whitefronts grazing toward the river's edge about halfway between Marsh Point and Aldcliffe Hall Lane.
They were distant, but I managed a couple of digi-scope record shots. Also among the usual mass of Canada geese and greylags were just a handful of pink-footed geese plus at least 6 orange-collared greylags.

Whooper swans
The expected groups of mute swan on Aldcliffe Marsh had attracted a pair of whooper swans - earlier a flock of 7 had passed over but continued on toward Glasson.
Good numbers of redwing and fieldfare were feeding in the hawthorns. In the maize fields 7 stock doves continue to be a regular sight.
In the wet fields black-headed and common gulls were feeding but there no Med gulls among them.
A few oystercatcher and redshank were scattered among 112 curlew, all busily probing the soft earth.

Collared greylag
At Freeman's Pools there was a slight increase in the number of tufted duck, now numbering a barely impressive seven. Half a dozen wigeon, 19 gadwall and the usual teal and mallard were also joined by a single goldeneye.
Several of the little grebe seemed to have moved out, leaving just a couple on the pools.
The lone Canada goose with the pink ring seems to have succumbed; its lifeless form was being methodically picked over by a couple of carrion crows on the island.

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