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Monday, 28 September 2020

Pink-footed Goose

The perfect antidote to my recent bloggers block - a patch lifer!

Following the incredible three patch ticks during the first half of 2020 (American Herring Gull, Blyth's Reed Warbler and Rose-coloured Starling) this evening as the light fell, my fourth patch lifer of 2020 happened...

This Pink-footed Goose, which in the rapidly fading light looked all the world to be an adult, was first found by Tim Wright from Colyford Common hide at around 6pm today.  Finally I was able to get out at 7pm and from the Bridge Marsh gateway was delighted to see it was still present...




We have huge numbers of Canada Geese around at the moment, so it was interesting to see it sticking with a small group of Teal.  There was also a Green Sandpiper on the same pool (look in front of the Goose in the above photo) plus my first Redwing of the autumn flew over which was a bonus. Not a bad mini-trip out in an otherwise work filled day!  

I thought it would be worth trying a video as I knew all my photos would be awful considering the near-darkness...



I seem to recall there's at least one historic Pink-foot record on the Axe, but this is the first since I've been birding here that's for sure.  It's a rare bird in the county too, although there has been a flurry of records over the past tens years with sightings as close as the Otter (three feeding in stubble in 2011) and several sightings on the the Exe with the most recent being early 2018.  At least one has also been living with a west/mid Devon Canada Goose flocks for yonks (I've seen it at Roadford and Fernworthy!) plus there have been some recent records from North Devon and Lundy too.

I have always thought it just doesn't make sense why they are the rarest grey goose in Devon though, when they are by far and away the most numerous species of wild grey goose in the UK (I don't include Greylag in that!).  They just don't seem to move in cold snaps like White-fronts and Tundra Beans do, presumably because these birds originate more from the near continent?  

My 262nd species of bird for the Axe patch :-)

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