Monday, 18 January 2016

Hesketh Out Marsh and Martin Mere

An American wigeon and about 800 Eurasian wigeon were on the only ice free pool at Hesketh Out Marsh today. It was bitterly cold in the wind, but we managed to get down below the bank which at least offered us some relief and we were able to bear it for an hour or so before heading off to Martin Mere.

This was my first visit to Martin Mere this year, so inevitably I picked up a few new birds for the year, including barn owl and tawny owl.

Year: 128 (American wigeon, barn owl, tawny owl etc.)

Part of the wigeon flock at Hesketh Out Marsh, with the American bird at the back of the water in the middle.

Hesketh Out Marsh

Barn owl from the Ron Barker hide at Martin Mere.

To tick or not to tick? Ross's goose at Martin Mere. This bird has moved between here and Marshside every winter since 2013 and disappears in the summer. It's also unringed, but it's consigned to the category "of unknown origin", in otherwords it may be an escape from captivity. Ross's geese with much better credentials this have failed to make it onto the British list.

Here's what the Martin Mere website has to say on the subject:

"The return of the Ross’s Goose which showed well in front of the Discovery Hide is a mixed blessing. Nice to see this tiny Snow Goose even if it’s credentials looked tarnished. The bird arrived at Marshside RSPB in August of 2013 and has been disappearing from the North West during the summer and returning each autumn ever since.
We have had some better qualified Ross’s traveling with Pink-footed Geese in the past, although no Ross’s Geese have been accepted as genuine vagrants in the UK, not even the mid 1970’s Lanc’s mossland bird found with Pink-footed Geese at a time when only a handful of captive Ross’s were in Europe and none of those in the UK.".

Of course, just because it's on the mere right in front of the hide means nothing. Every other bird in these photos are wild, including the whooper swans it is swimming with here.

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