Pink-footed Geese. Phil Slade.
I don't usually like abbreviated words and certainly don't ever like abbreviated names attached to birds and I use them very rarely although as a contradiction this post is an example of my doing so. I think the one which makes me cringe more than any other is 'Gropper' for the Grasshopper Warbler. So I was being a little facetious when I made the title of today's post PFG for Pink-footed Geese. Thanks for another photograph for me to use on Birds2blog Phil.
The Pink-footed Geese are back again for the winter with up to 10,000 which I saw on Pilling Marsh on 5 October, and figures of twice that number recorded by other birders since that date. Yesterday JB and I estimated 15,000, a figure reached as a combination of birds on Pilling Marsh and Fluke Hall Lane. When you see these numbers of birds gathered in one place you cannot help but wonder if such areas like Pilling and Eagland Hill are going beyond their carrying capacity and therefore unable to support such numbers of geese throughout the winter months. The Fylde appears to hold dramatically increasing numbers of PFG year on year from 6,500 during the 1980's to last year when the north Fylde population reached a peak of 30,800 in an October co-ordinated roost count, and in fact another co-ordinated roost count in the county of Lancashire revealed a figure of almost 70,000 PFG.
The PFG have quite possibly been the commonest geese in Lancashire since the very early 18th century, I came across the record of a Mr Blundell of Crosby Hall who made an entry in his diary in 1708 of a goose-shooting party made to a site in Little Crosby which continues to be frequented to this day.
As with any bird species numbers depend on the food availability and increasing numbers of PFG are now wintering in Norfolk where the birds have discovered for themselves the vast supply of sugar beet residues, whereas the lack of food availability in Lancashire means 'the squeeze is on' which may be due to loss of permanent inland pasture and of cereal stubble which is the result of the switch from spring to autumn sowing.
Two distinct populations breed in Iceland and Greenland, and in Svalbard with the latter wintering in Denmark and the Netherlands, there is no 'direct' evidence that Svalbard birds have ever occurred in Lancashire.
Barn Owl. David Cookson.
Well it's not just another Barn Owl pic, it's another excellent Barn Owl pic with thanks to DC.
I'D SOONER BE BIRDING!