goosey goosey gander

It’s winter, it’s Norfolk, and that means that geese are on the menu.  All good, and very dramatic and really good birding.  Shitting great flocks of Pink-feet all over the place, Bean geese, Brent and White-fronted by the side of the A149 and lots of little erm, specials amongst them.  But of course all is not as it seems.  Some of my occasional readers will know all that is to come in this diatribe, but some will not.  Ho hum.

A couple of days ago, in fact last year, perhaps even in the last decade (blimey I could start a decade list! You wouldn’t let it lie etc etc) there were plenty of Brent Geese around Salthouse and Cley with reports of Pale Bellied, Black Brant and a Ross’s Goose amongst them.  Last week/year/decade I picked out one of these half-tick subspecial thingies but none of the others.  Today, with minimal effort, the Ross’s Goose was located, exactly where it was supposed to be.  Here is an amazing photo of said goose.

really it is a ross's goose

It will be the white bit, yeah? 

This goose has been reported on Birdguides and dutifuly written in the log in the Cley visitors centre a few times.  Why?  Seriously, why?  Ross’s Goose is not on the British List unless I read the BOU website wrong earlier (the Caol Ila was very very nice earlier on but it was only an ickle bottle) and if you scan through some of the big lists on BUBO, you won’t find it included.  Yes, you will find it on the UK400 British List, but I dare say that Peacock is on there too.  No, this bird is a no go – as untickable as an unringed Bar-headed Goose in Barnet in the summer.   So why bother telling anyone that it is there, and why bother looking for it (I ask myself more than anyone) why bother at al?  No, unless this goose came to Norfolk with a ruddy great flock of Barnacle Geese that all had ‘my folks went to greenland and all I got was this lousy t-shirt’ t-shirts on, it is nothing other than an escape and everyone should know this.  But geese in Norfolk in the winter get people all excited.  There is another goose that is bothering people in Cantley and from what I can see the consensus is that it may well be a Lesser White-fronted but has dodgy provenance and isn’t really a proper tick.  But it does end up as a mega on Birdguides every day and can be seen on BUBO listings and on umpteen signatures on turdBirdforum as a new life tick.  It does seem that there is a lot of justincasism amongst ardent listers going on.  Alright, I saw a Ross’s goose and a Pale-bellied Brent Goose and didn’t find a Black Brant (whatever they are) and the life list goes up by a fat nada, and nor can I be arsed to go to Cantley just in case.

The funny looking Harrier is tempting mind you.


marshes and geese and stuff
Caveat – if it turns out that the Ross’s Goose is a proper bird (which it probably isn’t) I am quite happy to stand corrected and stick a big black mark in my little list book.

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