15 Feb 2022

Snow Goose on the house list.

A few years ago Barry Barnacal found a Snow Goose on the Wirral that arrived and departed with Pinkfooted Geese - see here for details on that bird. Roll on early February 2022 and another turned up in the same location with Pinkfooted Geese. Given geese can live for many years was it a returning bird? I couldn't get to see it when it first arrived and after a bit of sleuthing I found out the 2018 bird hadn't been submitted and wasn't recorded in either the county bird report for that year or the county rarities database - despite photos of the bird being all over social media it wasn't deemed worthy of a record as a rarities form hadn't been submitted! It's now been added to the county data base..........

Heres a short video I took off that bird. It arrived with Pinkfeet and left a few days later so theres no reason to think it wasn't a genuinely wild bird

I had this mad idea that, given the numbers of Pinkfeet that fly over our house, I may get it on the house list! Sometimes the most seemingly mad ideas come to fruition. The bird seemed settled on wet fields at Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB which is about 8 km in a straight line from me. It occasionally took flight with the rest of the geese and at times was reported heading towards chester before circling round and returning back. 

With huge skeins of geese suddenly flying round and coming close to us before circling back towards the Dee surely I'd be able to pick it out. Sure enough after two days of watching and waiting I picked it up distantly with Pinkfeet before it dropped below the tree line and onto Burton Marsh. What a house tick! 

Hearing from Steve it was showing off Burton Point and having arranged to meet my old friend Andy at Parkgate later I decided to leave earlier and meet up with Steve and Colin for a quick look.

It was easy enough to spot although distant and with a supporting cast of two Barnacle Geese, three whooper swans and a calling Cetti's warbler it was a great little trip out. Coupled with a Titanic Plum Porter at the nearby Harp the day got even better! 

With a large feral breeding population on the near continent the status of Snow Geese in the UK is always going to be difficult to determine. Its no longer a BBRC rarity and is now considered by county rarities committees. Unless someone finds a ringed bird and manages to read the ring number from Canada you're never going to know the true origin but the fact the two cheshire records have both arrived and departed with Pinkfeet surely strengthens their credentials as a wild bird.

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