October 31st   Leave a comment

John Anderson found a snow goose among a large flock of pink-footed geese just outside Crail last thing yesterday afternoon. It was too late last night for me to go and see it after I got the news. Luckily the flock came back again today and spent the day in the stubble fields at Ribbonfield (between the B940 and the A917 just to the north-west of Crail). I caught up with it in the afternoon. There were about 200 pink-footed geese and a single pure black and white snow goose. Snow geese are pure white – very much like a farmyard goose, although with black wing tips – and tend to stand out amongst the greys and dull browns of a pinkfoot flock. It was nice to turn up to see a bird and to see it straight away: no dusky warbler experience this afternoon. Just a big, conspicuous, easily identifiable white goose. The last snow goose I saw was near Vancouver in Canada five years ago (an impressive flock of several thousand) where they are a bit less unusual, so this is a good Crail bird. Only my second in the Crail area in the last 10 years as well. I scanned through the flock for other grey geese – a bean goose or a white-fronted which are much less conspicuous but they were all pinkfeet apart from the snow goose of course. I did see a merlin jinking over the flock barely making the geese react at all – that would be some sort of monumental David and Goliath – but some nearby gulls and woodpigeons did start to fly up in panic as it approached before settling down when they finally realised it was a merlin. It is very difficult to split merlins and peregrines on rapid flight views when they are coming towards you and most prey will err on the side of caution.

The snow goose at Ribbonfiedl just northwest of Crail this afternoon with a pink-footed  goose flock

The snow goose at Ribbonfield just northwest of Crail this afternoon with a pink-footed goose flock

Posted October 31, 2013 by wildcrail in Sightings

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