Saturday, 3 April 2010

Barnacles, feral or Svalbard bound?

Up to 50 hirundines have been feeding over the res. mainly Swallows and Sand martins, with one House Martin on the 30th. On the 31st D.W. located 17 Barnacle geese that stayed until late in the day. At times they flew around the reservoir and favoured the N.E. direction, but I was not around to see in which direction they eventually departed. Their appearance was enough to get me looking in the new Avifauna. The entry made interesting reading concerning Barnacles and Thornton , where one was shot during the first week of April, 1891 and 7 were present during the last week of March 1981, when there was an influx of wild birds. There had been 31 at Eyebrook and one of these birds had a Svalbard ring. About 5 of the birds seemed to be adults with yellow faces. They were nervous and kept in a tight group. They did approach the car park area , but this may have been due to the feral Barnacle that is associating with the group of hybrid Snow geese. My feeling is that they were genuine wild birds that have probably moved further S.W. this year due to the hard winter. It would have been good if they had moved on to fields and we could have checked for rings. Other recent sightings included a male Blackcap, a White Wagtail, and a Common Tern, all on the 2nd April. The Tern is an early bird being 3 days ahead of the ten year average.

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