Sunday, 2 November 2014

Pink-footed Geese and Whooper Swans

Before we headed north I had been monitoring the recent sightings page of the "Birds in Moray and Nairn" website. There had been a report of 1100 Pink-footed  Geese and 250 Whooper Swans on the fields between Inchbroom and Bailliesland Farm, just south of Lossiemouth. Both of these species turn up on the south coast in very low numbers so I was interested to see them in larger groups, therefore I made this my first port of call. I have to say I wasn't disappointed, the goose population was now around 1800 and the swans on the way to 400.

During our stay we visited this location several times, mainly to try and record such a great sight on camera. Unfortunately the light was never satisfactory and I had no idea how unapproachable the PFG are. On the first day I took care with my approach and as soon as I got within 200 yards the birds were on the move, gradually walking away from me. I tried to make the lowest profile possible using the minimal cover that was available - not easy when there were only a couple of gateposts. The birds were extremely nervous, cars on the adjacent road had them raising their heads and when a car transporter went through the whole flock took to the air.

Only one neck ring spotted....

.... GN29

An all too frequent view of PFG


By the end of the first week numbers had swelled to an estimated 10,000  and the swans peaked at about 450. Late one afternoon, just as I had finished photographing them the local postie arrived in his red van, the birds were on alert immediately but as he got out 8,000 geese took to the air as one. They really didn't care for his bright red Post Office jacket.

The Whoopers, by contrast, were much calmer, though in such numbers it was inevitable that occasional squabbles broke out and they chased each other around the muddy pool that was home.


1 comment:

  1. Hi Dave
    Another cracking visit to Scotland.....what a birthday present!
    Not bad photos either!
    Back to earth now!