Sunday, 11 October 2009

Wknd 10-11 October

Not a great deal seen on Saturday whilst on b/day party duties but still at least 15 Sandwich Terns on platforms in Granton Harbour. Also received emails confirming yesterday's colour-ringed BHG had been rung at Salamanca rubbish dump on 28/1/07 (together with some nice photos of ringing location, as per below) and subsequently seen at Pinto landfill, Madrid on 8/3/09; it is (probably) the first non-breeding exchange of BHG btwn Scotland and Spain, there having been one record in Ireland and perhaps two in England. Interesting to speculate where it may breed, possibly in Scotland but could well be Scandinavia and it's just passing throo en route south. Also got news that Herring Gull orange-1787 was again at the Seton Burn on 1 October (this bird ringed near Scarborough on 30/11/07).

Around WeBS on Sunday perhaps the most interesting bird was what I thought was a tiny Cackling Canada Goose (Branta canadensis minima) [correction - I'm advised this is a Canada x Barnacle cross, comments below!] in with the migrant Canadas at East Fenton. I've not seen this individual previously, though a range of smaller Canadas are resident in the area, some parvipes and I suspect the smallest two birds are Taverner's (though there were different opinions when one showed up at Aberlady last year). The "tiny two" themselves were present throo to May and seen again on September WeBS but apparently elsewhere today. Resident Canadas here are not more than a handful so the rest are on the move - later 23 flew throo Port Seton prom playground at an hour after sunset, with 4 Teal! Now 9 Whoopers back at East Fenton, and a very dusky Greylag x Canada hybrid. Also a leucistic Pinkfoot with entirely white wing tips flew over north of Rattlebags quarry.

Nearby at Chapel, another dodgy duck in the form of a darkish Mallard - suggestions of Black Duck but pale side of tail would rule that out; I suspect these dark individuals are not that infrequent in this area and I have tended to ignore them in the past.

En route back passing Aberlady at dusk the white phase Snow Goose was very obvious out on the mud by the Peffer Burn, as arriving flocks whiffled in to join the thousands of Pinkfeet. My daughter (6yrs) managed to spot it with her binoculars. Only 13 Barnacles seen.

1 comment:

  1. Comments from Chris Batty, RBA

    Hi Stephen,

    Many thanks for your email. Your current bird is a hybrid Barnacle Goose x Canada goose (Canada head pattern, Barnacle extreme contrast beetwen black breat and white flanks, grey mantle feathers with neat dark subterminal markings). I do not know whether the Canada goose parent would be a Cackling or Greater, but I'm tempted to guess at the former, given that the bird has such a short bill. But it seems to have a lot of Barnacle in there so perhaps it is the result of a backcross with a Barnacle? But my knowledge of such hybrids is pretty limited.

    An escaped Cackling bred with escaped Barnacles in Lancashire a few years ago, and there is a large hybrid swarm in Argyll on the Mull of Kintyre; they breed at Highland Wildlife Park, Inveraray and (sometimes) spend the winter west of Campbeltown.