Red-breasted Goose. Copyright Granted.
A Red-breasted Goose (RBG) is back in the Pilling area and showing well again today having been around and moved about quite a bit since it was first found at Martin Mere on 14 October 2010.
The RBG has a rather restricted distribution, principally close to the Taimyr Peninsula in Siberia, and winters in the S.Caspian and Black Seas having recently expanded into Romania, Bulgaria, and Greece. In 1994 there was a remarkable count of 75,000 in Bulgaria.
It is a popular ornamental wildfowl and birds seen in Britain nearly always carry with them a doubt of origin. However, young birds in autumn along the east and south coasts of Britain in company with Dark-bellied Brent Geese are believed to be more likely wild. As is the case with the bird currently within our area they are often found in the company of Pink-footed Geese, though whether they arrive with the PFG can never be clear.
The first accepted records of RBG in Britain goes back into the distant 1776 when a bird was found near London, with another later in the same year at Cleveland in Yorkshire, this latter bird was actually kept on a small pond with Mallards and survived there until it died nine years later in 1785.
Up to the late 1960's RBG records in Britain were traditionally associated with Russian White-fronted Geese, but an upsurge since 1975 has coincided with the tendency to occur with Dark-bellied Brent Geese which themselves had increased in number in Britain between the mid-1960's and early 1990's.
It's all very tragic when you hear that numbers of RBG in the early 1970's had declined to 25,000 due to disturbance and hunting as was the decline also of the Peregrine Falcon near to which the RBG nested as a form of protection. However, as with the Dark-bellied Brent Goose the Red-breasted Goose has enjoyed an increase in recent years. And finally....
Yesterday whilst driving back from the Lakes I spotted - whilst traveling at 60mph - a number of birds at the top of a tree....'I think I've just seen something interesting at the top of a tree, says me to KT'....I did a u-turn as soon as I safely could and my ID skills at 60mph were rewarded by excellent views of 14 Waxwings....great stuff!