Monday, 13 December 2010

Lesser White front- how genuine though!

A good mornings survey of Buckenham and Cantley saw a fairly good variety of birds using the marshes due to the thaw. 4 Water pipits together on a semi frozen flooded area were a good start. The Taiga Bean geese were on Buckenham first thing this morning, a total of 99 were counted, they also carried a Lesser White Fronted goose with them. There has been a hybrid LWFG in the area for a while but this was as pure as they come, although distant all features could be clearly seen, white blaze going back above the eye, few bars/smudge on belly, yellow/orange eye ring and small size. It was closely hanging around with the Taiga's and eventually flew off with the group when railway staff walked past them. They were fairly distant so the photos are pretty poor.
Other highlights were 85 Pinkies, and 76 White fronts, 2 Ruff and 1600+ Wigeon. Good to see some water unfrozen for a change, made quite a difference.

Click on images to enlarge


  1. Ben,

    there's been an adult LWFG - presumed escape - in east Norfolk for at least three years now. It has moved around on occasion and this could well be it.


  2. Cheers Tim, I was wondering if there was a returning individual/presumed escape in the area. Has it been seen so far this winter?

  3. Hi Ben

    I've gone through a few recent issues of the NBR and it's clear that the situation with geese (particularly Ross's) is a bit of a shambles. Quite what to do about a seemingly intractable problem is beyond me at the moment.

    There have been LWFG reported from several locations over the past few years (including up to three at Buckenham itself), as well as there being individuals not reported to the news services (I certainly haven't reported the occasional LWFG in east Norfolk other than to confirm its presence in NBR. These individuals make it pretty much impossible to know the provenance of individual birds.

    Unfortunately internet discussions often attract people who think the only geese that exist are those reported to BirdGuides and RBA, again further distorting the issue. I guess at present we can only talk about % chances.

    Do you know where this individual has been when it hasn't been reported over recent days? Could it have been there but overlooked? Or has it been with Beans all the time and not reported?

    There are so many past records of individuals of possible/probable/certain escapes or wild birds both in and without the public domain that it could make assessment of status almost unworkable. A change in criteria to the acceptance of birds (unless there is clear evidence or strong suspicion of escape status such as pinioned wings, certain types of ring, unseasonal occurence etc) could be one way forward. Even then I expect there will be endless debate and many individuals that could be argued over till the cows come home.

  4. Its always a tricky topic to sort out. It looks as if there has as you have said, been a LWFG in the E Norfolk area for a few yrs now, this could well be it unfortunately.
    I am not sure where the goose has been when not reported in the past week, possibly behind the railway line with the Taigas, where they frequently hide when the path/railway is busy. Do you know where the goose seen earlier in the year has been for the past few months? This bird turned up on Sunday/Monday as far as I can tell. I have done weekly wildfowl counts at Buck/Cant for 3 months and this is the first time I and others in the area have seen it, so its been hiding somewhere for a while if it is the escape. Also, when you saw the bird earlier was it closely associating with wild geese or feral's?
    It's a shame we have so many escapes all over the place now, who knows what's real?!

  5. Hi Ben

    If you could find out where any Norfolk LWFG are at present, you could strengthen the case for this bird being potentially wild. As well as east Norfolk there have been other LWFG reported from Earsham, Boughton (even Cantley in Jan 2008) etc at various times that presumably go wandering at other times. I'm not sure everyone is aware of these other individuals potentially clouding the issue.

    This is an excellent resource on LWFG and the reintroduction in particular, with links to some very interesting publications. Many LWFG are now ringed and this would be something to look for in future.

    Perhaps a good pointer with this individual will be to see what it does in the medium term. Will it stay with Beans and leave with them?, will it stay at Cantley after they leave? or will it wander off somewhere else.

    I haven't heard of the east Norfolk bird being reported yet this winter but I will try to get out there in the coming days and have a couple of looks. If it's there, then at least that would be one bird to rule out!

  6. Thanks for the info Tim and the interesting link, I suspect we will never know with this bird but we shall have to wait and see what it does, the Beans are usually on the move Jan/Feb so wont have to wait too long.