January 17th   Leave a comment

The taiga bean goose this morning shot with my phone through my telescope - a good example of why John does the photography

The taiga bean goose this morning shot with my phone through my telescope – a good example of why John does the photography (the geese were not on a steep hill…). It’s the one walking right with orange legs.

Yesterday a couple of white-fronted geese were reported in a flock of pink-feet at Anstruther so I was out first thing this morning to try to track them down. They are not uncommon in the winter in Britain but they are very localised and there aren’t any that winter or even turn up regularly in Fife. I found the flock of pink-feet easily in a field behind the new Waid School building but no white-fronts. Much of the flock was in a dip in the field so I persisted to make doubly sure. After about twenty minutes the whole flock became visible as a dog walker pushed out into the middle of the field. There right at the end of the flock was a goose with bright orange legs and an orange bill – not a pink-foot, obviously, and not a white-front either, but a bean goose. A great find. Not so rare as a white-front but still a lucky bird to get in a year around Crail. When you see a bean goose you need to check which sub-species they belong to – either the tundra sub-species which is much rarer (from Siberia), or the taiga sub-species which breeds in north-western Europe and some of which winter in Scotland. The difference is in the longer neck and bill giving a taiga bean goose a more swan like appearance. This one was a taiga bean goose and a great no. 98 for the year list.

I continued on to Pittenweem and then up to Carnbee checking the fields for more geese. Up at Carnbee there was snow cover although the reservoir was only iced up in one corner. There were lots of tufted ducks and still the family party of whooper swans that were there on New Year’s Day: whoopers on a snowy loch are a proper winter image. As I drove back to Crail I saw several flocks of fieldfares adding to the real winter feel.

The family party of whooper swans in temporary residence at Carnbee reservoir

The family party of whooper swans in temporary residence at Carnbee reservoir

There are quite a few red-breasted mergansers along the coast from Caril to Balcomie just now. A few from Balcomie this afternoon when I completed my last NEWS count and a glorious male very close in at Roome Bay last thing.

Male red-breasted merganser - one close in at Roome Bay

Male red-breasted merganser – one close in at Roome Bay

Posted January 17, 2016 by wildcrail in Sightings

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