Sunday, 29 September 2013

Geese again

Grey goose census this weekend but I could only get out for a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon; Pinks are counted at roost, my job is just the East Lothian Greylags, passing Aberlady stopped briefly to check if any there - c. 1k Pinks on mud, literally the second bird I looked at from east of flock had bright orange legs! A few seconds later the entire flock were flushed by a couple walking on the salt marsh, who just previously had pointed at the geese, some departed but most re-settled. Very soon found another or same, but now western-most end, obligingly turned to reveal the distinctive broad pale tertial fringes, confirming was a Bean Goose, but then sat to roost and I had to go. Mobile phone was all I had for a camera and even I can't be sure which bird it is in the pic :(

But fortunately, later presumably the same bird was relocated and confirmed as a Taiga Bean, as I had suspected, by Colin (15:35hrs). Taiga Bean was common in Lothian to 1870, records since 1990 are: 8W Hound Point 28/9/95 (presumably this race), 14E Gosford Bay 15/2/03, ad Bavelaw 18/11/06-23/3/07, and the popular adult at Waughton 23/1-26/2/11. So pretty scarce these days and in addition to the 1995 record the only others on autumn "passage" since 1980 were 1 Whiteadder 19/9/90 and 1 Fenton Barns 3/10/83 (and 2 at same 24/10/82).

On to East Fortune, which held c. 250 Greylags last week but only 86 there today, plus the grey individual. Failed to find the rest at Redside, nor any others at East Fenton, Chapel, Scoughall or Lochhouses, etc. No time to search for YBW in coastal trees but clearly I'm doing well to evade them! An optimistic circuit of the neighborhood in Longniddry on Saturday morning produced just one Chiff in the thick shrubbery on the Old Coast Road, singing birds in various places last week.

Atlas-wise, managed to find House Sparrows on third look at West Fenton, 30 in the roadside hedges included many 1st-win transitional into adult plumage, but I think safe as local breeders, confirming NT48V; likewise a good flock in Langside, East Linton, seems safe for NT57Y confirmation. Not many left to look for now, NT58L (Highfield) and NT57S (Hailes Castle) still need another visit for sparrow, then it will be mainly onto nests!

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