Wild Goose chase

by on Nov.01, 2008, under Birdwatching, Druridge Bay, Northumberland, Surveys

For several years now we’ve been involved in the Icelandic-breeding Goose Census, and our survey work has enabled us to enjoy some spectacular flocks of birds departing their overnight roosts as daylight breaks, not only the geese but there’s also a roost of several thousand starlings at East Chevington, the site we count. Barn Owls are a regular feature of our early morning visits there as well. However, 2007 produced fewer geese than we expected and last month’s count revealed the presence of very few Greylag Geese and no Pink-footed Geese at all. We know they are around in southeast Northumberland – after all, we see birds regularly and it isn’t unusual to hear them calling in flight over our house at night. This month’s count was scheduled for this weekend so we headed out at 05:30 this morning, and headed for separate sites. Very few again at East Chev, but Sarah saw several flocks flying in over QEII Country Park. We haven’t found the roost site yet, but eventually no less than 1700 Pink-feet were gathered in one field…only 10mins from our house! Some map-work has revealed the possible roost sites so we’ll be out early again tomorrow. Maybe the census will have to change the site that is required to be counted in southeast Northumberland, although East Chev still holds some birds so we may have to carry out our own co-ordinated count at multiple sites to determine the exact number wintering in our area.

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