It was a pretty poor winter nationally for scarce geese, with low numbers of the likes of Tundra Bean and Russian White-fronted Geese around. However, the pulling power of the Deepings area's large resident flocks of Greylag Geese eventually told.
A lovely group of seven Russian White-fronted Geese took up residence between West Deeping and Langtoft in late January, after initially appearing near Helpston. They were generally quite distant but occasionally close to a footpath, where regular passing dog-walkers helpfully habituated the Greylag flock somewhat and ensured that the birds offered some good views.
Russian White-fronts are dependable to appear around here every winter in varying numbers, but Tundra Bean Goose is a much scarcer prize, usually appearing every 2-3 years. It was a pleasant surprise, then, to come aross a pair of adults at BLGP on 19 February; they hung around for a month, but were much harder to connect with than the nearby White-fronts due to their nocturnal habits, roosting in the pits during the day and heading out at dusk to feed on the fen with the Greylags. After many attempts, I finally managed some good views in roadside fields in the failing light on consecutive early March evenings.
Barnacle Goose is scarce in the local area, yet the near-constant presence of a single bird over the past 20 years has ensured that it remains a reliable year tick. This old-aged bird was still kicking around at Baston and Langtoft Pits in the late winter period, but the notable addition was an obvious pair in the Langtoft West End/Tallington area. These birds have been around since early 2022, but are a bit more hit and miss. In addition to this, a neck-ringed bird (white 'A87') appeared in late February; this individual was ringed as an adult in North Yorkshire in July 2022 and spent that autumn on Teesside, before being seen in the Deepings in February 2023. It was part of a wider movement of naturalised birds across Britain. Presumably this sort of displacement will become more regular as this population increases and will mean more Barnacle Goose records locally.
Of course, Pink-footed Goose is the most frequent 'wild' goose seen in the Deepings area, with a handful of birds appearing among the Greylags each winter and usually a number of large fly-over flocks at various points. However, given that many thousands frequent The Wash, only 25 km or so away, and plenty of sugar beet is grown locally, big feeding groups remain strangely rare around here and we generally only seem to pick up stragglers.
The musings of a wildlife enthusiast, usually armed with his camera.