Tuesday, 1 December 2020

From Russia with Love

It's a funny how a weekend of fog and murk can play havoc with a birds natural navigation, especially when this coincides with the migration and large winter arrival of wildfowl into the UK from the continent, but I won't complain as Wanstead along with many UK sites (including several in the London region) benefited from all the confusion as White-fronted Geese popped up in the most random of places.

Before connecting with the lone adult bird that first appeared on the football pitches on Monday, I'd only ever seen a single flock of White-fronted Geese on the patch, when a skein of 15 flew over the Flats on 8th October 2016 - this was one of those 'Special' patch days that sticks in the mind, as there was Yellow-browed Warbler and several Ring Ouzel also knocking around that wonderful autumn day.

Unlike the skein of geese that circled the Flats in 2016 today's single White-fronted Goose happily (if not a little oddly) grazed all alone on the football pitches, affording some amazing views of this truly wild grey goose from the east - It was eventually spooked by a couple of passers by and flew to the relative safety of Alexandra lake. It's a bit of a worry just how confiding this goose is (I suspect its contact with humans has been minimal, if at all) here's hoping it safely does a bunk and joins up with a wintering geese flock somewhere safe and doesn't end up as Wanstead fox fodder!

Albifrons, Wild Grey Geese
'Russian' White-fronted Goose (albifrons)

Albifrons, Wild Grey Geese
Who knew the lush green grass of a football pitch would make ideal grazing for a lost Russian grey goose!
Albifrons, Wild Grey, Geese
Take off - Aeroflot style!

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