Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The Exe Red-breasted Goose

Apologies for the lack of recent updates, I have been out and about on patch when I've had chance. Before I headed over to the Exe yesterday I had a few hours out on patch which were rather productive, I will get up to date with my on patch sightings in another post, but this post will be all about a certain Goose...

I actually think this is as good as a Red-breasted Goose can get, especially if it proves to be the recent Dorset bird. And this is why I wanted to see it! I've been fortunate to see Dave Land's excellent photos of this bird, and when comparing them with photos of the Dorset bird (in my opinion) there seemed to be a few anomalies. So I wanted to see what it looked like in real life!

This was rather easy, as when we rolled into Darts Farm we could immediately see the Brent flock...


And very quickly found the bird...

There's no denying it is a cracking looking beast!

So did seeing it in 'real life' help? Well yes and no.....

To me, most things match the Dorset bird. The head pattern and coverts I think look ok, but the flank barring is undoubtedly different...


Now compare it to these (miles better) pics taken at Stanpit Marsh and Portland...

http://www.chog.org.uk/Rarer%20Species%20Photos/Red-breasted%20Goose.htm

http://www.portlandbirdobs.org.uk/latest_oct2011.htm

I think the left side isn't too dissimilar, but the right side does look strikingly different. But then I got thinking again....

The CHOG photos (without doubt the best) were taken almost a month ago, and surely the time difference may account for this plumage difference? Feather wear, maybe feather growth and certainly feather loss has to be taken into account - especially as it apparently got regularly beaten up by Brents at Stanpit!

So at the end of this post I can conclude that I'm not totally sure either way - although personally I 'think' it is the same bird. Forgetting about any plumage 'glitches', the movements of the Dorset bird, and the timings are massively in its favour. I know (at least some of) the CHOG boys, and the finder of it on the Fleet have it down as the same bird.

The ultimate conclusion though is that I do not think anyone can say this is 100% the same bird, but at the same time, no one can say it 100% isn't the same bird. Us birders, well actually all humans in general, like to think we can solve, resolve and conclude beyond doubt. Well in this case, I don't think we can.... So it's over to the BBRC!

Normal 'on patch birding news' blogging will be resumed within the next few days I promise....

4 comments:

  1. A thought-provoking 'take' indeed, Steve. You may be right, and it's a riddle that cannot truly be solved, but trying to sure beats DIY. ;o)

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  2. Hmmm, does the humans failure to resolve this and your challenge allude to you think the BBRC non-human? Have always had my doubts...:-)

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  3. Hehehe. Mr James, you sneaked that blog on...

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