Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Invasion of the rhizome snatchers - updated

The safari went to see more digging by the Environment Agency at Marton Mere nature reserve today. Wow...what a lot of work, new islands, vistas opened up through the reeds in front of the hides, feeding channels for the Bitterns, sneaky hideaways for nesting waterfowl; how good is this going to be in the coming season!
All this digging has broken up literally tons of reed rhizomes eagerly feasted upon by our resident Canada Geese. There are, or at least have recently been, some apparently genuine North American Canada Geese in amongst the Pink Footed Geese on the fields to the north. The Bean Geese, both races, taiga and tundra (or are they full species?), are far more interesting.

Cracking looking birds as Canada Geese are I can't muster up much enthusiasm for them - sorry - nor do I find the feral Grey Lag Geese any more exciting; although the truly wild flocks just over the border in Scotland are fine and dandy.

From inspection of the top picture this male (cob) Mute Swan has murder on his mind. That low hunched posture with wings half flexed means someone is going to get some serious trouble. Probably the Canada Goose at the other end of the frame.

Introductions are a nightmare but re - introductions are are a bizarre thing, thousands of pounds are being spent on Beavers yet there is now talk of remote contaception for the Wild Boar in the southern parts of the country, once indigenous but not very pretty.
I once spent a night alone in a remote mountain bothy in the Highlands of Scotland with only the moon and wind for company, a thin peat and dry heather twig fire flickered miserably in the hearth...all that was missing was the howl of a Wolf pack in the nearby woods - what chance of these impressive animals being re - introduced...none, probably...sad to say!
Forgot to mention that we also had two Long Eared Owls on the nature reserve, the very easy one and a much more tricky one. Managed to get a group of visiting birders on to them, only to find out back at the office that 8 had been seen that morning! And because it was lunch time and we had to get back we drove past Lawson's field which was full of gulls without stopping...one of which was a Mediterranean Gull...I must be loing my touch; I can usually smell 'em!

Where to next? Still a couple of days calm and Porpoises are about before the windy weather returns. Who knows what the wind will blow in, and there was a Waxwing recently in a nearby garden...doh...is the safari not going to have the chance to find any of these 'common' birds (this winter at least) before they disappear back to continental Europe.

In the meantime let us know what's missing from your outback.


Mary said...

That looks like a great place for waterfowl. I like the Canada and Grey Lag both, but then I've never seen a Bean or a Pink Footed to compare them, too :-)Lovely Mute Swan.

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Hi Mary

Thanks for dropping by all the way from Indiana. (My brother used to live in Lafayette a few years ago!)

Glad you like our selection of geese. The others you mention are not really 'lookers' but they are special to us in the Fylde.

Best wishes