It nearly didn’t happen though. I drove up to the chosen fields this morning to look for them only to find that they had yet to be harvested. I drove to various fields finding them all with high crops which I doubt the birds would land in although I was thwarted from driving to one favoured autumn field as there were roadworks. Not finding them on the fields I was in half a mind to drive home as 3 September is still an early date and the birds weren’t necessarily back yet but I thought I would drive up to the peat bog at Flakstadmåsen/Johdalsmåsen which was proven to be used regularly as a day time loafing site daily in the autumn. On my way I saw a flock of geese in flight going down on the field that I had not been able to drive to. Parking the car I walked there and sure enough there was a flock of geese and they were Taiga (fabalis) Bean Geese!! I had not taken my scope and struggled to get good views in the bins at a range of 200m but counted 60 birds and could see one with a gps/radio neck collar (unfortunately these are no longer transmitting) and one with an inscribed neck collar but it was not possible to see any details. I fired off some pictures though hoping to be able to read the inscription on the PC later. The geese were feeding on the far side of the field against the woodland edge which seems to nearly always be there want. These geese are truly wild geese unlike the majority of other geese in these parts which are feral and they were very wary with birds always on look out. They flushed possibly due to me (although I was 200 metres away) and flew a couple of circuits before flying right over my head (not particularly smart if they are the subject of illegal hunting) and I took loads of pictures which has allowed me to identify the ringed birds.
When I arrived I heard geese but they are very difficult to find here in what must be similar habitat to their breeding grounds. I eventually saw some birds sticking their heads up but no more than 60 birds so it didn’t look like there were 2 flocks although I could see 5 birds with neck collars which didn’t correspond with the feeding flock earlier. After nearly an hour the birds took flight and suddenly there were a lot more than 60 birds - 118 bird to be precise after counting from the photos I took. So there were 2 flocks after all. The birds flew North West this time looking to head for a field which I have never seen them on but we know from the GPS tracking that they have used before.
|the first flock feeding in exactly the same field where we had the first ever autumn record (thanks to the GPS tags) in September 2013|
|here the bird with GPS collar flies over and proves to have a black leg ring showing it to be 07|
|7P in flight. I wonder if the groups of three birds in these two photos are family groups|
|Flakstadmåsan. Can you see the geese?|
|6S plus I also saw 6Z|
|the best photo I managed|
|the orange legs can be so noticeable!|
|anyone know what grasshopper this is? The spike at its rear end is interesting but does this mean it is a female?|