Friday, 3 February 2017

3rd February, 2017 Beachy Head and the Lower Cuckmere Clear sunny and cool S-SE 5

We sea-watched from 07.15-08.45 with generally a light passage with the highlight being a close winter plumage Black-throated Diver with a Red-throated Diver for comparison.

Red-throated Diver 49 (44 E, 1 W and 4 on the sea)
Black-throated Diver 1 w/p E @ 07.30 with a Red-throated.
Gannet 76 E
Kittiwake 130 E
Auk Sp. 70 E
Razorbill 13 E

We then decided to visit the lower Cuckmere to see if Matt's Geese were still present, and I located them on the river. Luckily no one was walking along the river bank and I was able to approach them fairly close allowing for a series of photographs to be taken. They took flight once when all the gulls flew over and the geese landed on the river and swam past me.
Although all the geese were together, the 9 Barnacles kept in a fairly tight bunch and the 4 Cackling and 5 hybrids also kept mainly together. I concentrated the photographs mainly on the Cackling types.

Nine Barnacles at the back, with the hybrid CanadaX Barnacles

All 18 Geese with the Barnacles again at the back.

Three Cackling types front left (small size).

3 Cackling types (left) with 3 hybrids

Two Cackling types (small bills and short necks)



One Cackling-back bird

Two Cackling types with 3 hybrids and a Barnacle

One Cackling type (middle) with two hybrids

Cackling type right hand bird

Over the years we have been involved in the identification of several Canada Geese races. They tend to be very difficult and the following are pictures of these individuals.

Cackling taken in January, 2015 in the Cuckmere. This individual
spent several years in Sussex and was considered to be an escape.

Two parvipes (at the back) with a Greater Canada Goose taken
in the Cuckmere around 10 years ago.
(not certain what race the front left hand bird is).

Todd's Canada taken in May, 2015 on Unst.

Lesser Canada taken on Unst in May, 2015