Saturday, 14 October 2017

Goose-fest 300...

We headed out the house this morning with the intention of seeing my 300th species for the county. Our target was the Richardson's Cackling Goose in Budle Bay although we weren't too hopeful on the way as we'd only heard negative news so far...

When we arrived the difficulty of the task was apparent immediately. There were a minimum of 5000 Barnacle Geese and 2000 Pink-footed Geese and they were all very distant from the Harper's Heugh viewpoint. Eventually though a Canada-type was picked up asleep on the estuary. 

Once it finally woke up it was hard to tell whether it was the Cackling or Todd's due to the extreme distance. However, this was made much easier when another birder picked up the Richardson's Cackling Goose in a much closer flock of Barnacles in one if the fields. It was quite distinctive when views were reasonable. Also at this point the Todd's Canada Goose woke up and walked around a bit.

Over the next hour or two the Cackling Goose returned to the bay before once again flying into the fields. My dad also picked up another Todd's Canada Goose in the bay feeding alongside a Greylag.

All photos and videos below were taken by S. Clifton and used here with permission. The videos should be viewed in HD...

Richardson's Cackling Goose - note how it is a similar size to the Barnacles, with a short neck, compact shape, square-looking head and a short bill.
The first Todd's Canada Goose - very distant on the mudflats, this was the smaller of the two Todd's though still noticebly bigger than the Barnacle. It's rear end was quite long, while it's neck appeared shorter than our 'native' Canadas. The breast also appeared quite dark. 
Todd's Canada Goose number two - the larger of the two birds, its shape looked more similar to our normal Canada Geese, although it was visibly smaller than the nearby Greylag. British Canadas are almost always larger than Greylags. 
And a video of each bird...

On the way home the Red-necked Phalarope at Druridge while a Slavonian Grebe and Velvet Scoter were off Chevington burn mouth. 

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