8th January: Barnacle Geese & White-front Geese

Back down to the Meadow at my usual time today and the floods had gone down a smidgeon further. The BARNACLE GEESE were still about, looking very much at home along the stretch between the Sailing Club and the Perch Inn still. I was just admiring the flock when I met up with Ben Sandford-Smith who'd managed to find some WHITE-FRONTED GEESE further up in the flooded field behind the Poplar trees. I went to check them out and it turned out to be a couple of adults together with three or four other mongrel birds that were some kind of hideous hybrid. There were also four BAR-HEADED GEESE there as well so it was quite a motley collection. I did wonder whether these might be birds from Blenheim as I remembered seeing a similarly composed flock back in 2009 when I went for the putative American White-fronts there that Phil Barnett found. However, Tom Wickens informs me that he's seen this family of the two White-fronts and a few hybrids on the Thames at Eynsham so they're obviously just displaced from further up the Thames. I don't know if the hybrids are the offspring, if so then either Mrs. Goose has been seeing someone else behind her partner's back or there is some hideous hidden gene in their ancestry somewhere along the line.

The gull roost was large but still rather distant and I couldn't find much apart from a few YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS in amongst the throng. Now that we're into January many of the gulls have lost their streaky heads so it's becoming harder to pick out the Yellow-legs and Caspians from the flock. A Buzzard seen at dusk was the only Year Tick today as even I'm not counting the White-fronts.

A nice White-fronted Goose...

...and a monstrous hybrid - I think that there is some Bar-headed Goose in there somewhere

...and some video of them all

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