Saturday, 1 May 2010

Tundra Bean Goose, Martin Mere, Lancashire

May 1, 2010:
Saturday and May Day and the sun shining but undecided where to go. Perhaps try Bowland? But at the first set of traffic lights decided to turn left instead of right, so perhaps try Leighton Moss instead. Reached junction 31 of the M6, but instead of taking the northbound took the opposite way thinking that the male Garganey might still be near Southport. First tried Martin Mere Wetlands but no sign of any Garganey although there was a rumour of a solitary Tundra Bean Goose. Spent well over an hour sifting through a flock of 1000+ Pinkfeet and suddenly there it was, its bright orange legs clearly visible in the sunshine.

Swimming or sleeping as it must have been and as many of the Pinkfeet were, there would have been little chance to pick it out, but now that it was moving and feeding it became much easier. It was occasionally harassed by the Pinkfeet and whilst it loosely mixed in with them, it always kept a little distance away.

After feeding for a while it came to the water's edge to drink and then swam off with some Pinkfeet. It was satisfying to get such a clear view of one of these locally-scarce geese even though the distance was well in excess of 100 metres. The rather short neck, dark flanks, bright orange legs and short deep-based bill all help to characterise this subspecies (rossicus).

Quite a good day so far and there was still more to follow (to be concluded)

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