I see there is a Snow Goose loitering around the south east of the county. I could do with that, if it was wild.
Snow Goose is the commonest bird on the British list that I have not seen, or should I say, not added to my list. This is because I've seen a good few over the years but none fits MY criteria to be added. I mean, after all, we can only police ourselves in these matters, because no one else really gives a monkeys.
I've seen two at Holywell in years gone by and best of all I had 5 ( or was it 6?) flying south over Amble one year. No good to me I'm afraid. None of them seemed 'right' if you know what I mean. Either the timing was wrong or they were with the wrong carrier species etc etc.
Some might say that they could have been wild and they'd have been right. They could have been. But the evidence just doesn't amount to enough to push me one nearer to the 400 mark. If there's one thing I am obsessive about its keeping my totals clean.
So how would I judge a Snow Goose. What would give it the qualifications to be deemed a genuine vagrant by me?
For a start it must not be wearing a ring. It must be free flying and show no sign of captivity. ( All of those above fit that part). The timing should be right, ie arriving with either good weather patterns or over the autumn / winter / spring period.( The two Holywell and the recent bird fit there.) It should be with good carriers such as the hoards of Pinkfeet that arrive from Iceland each autumn. It should NOT just loaf around with feral species. This last one would not stop it being wild, but it would add a hint of doubt.
As Snow Geese are feral and free flying in parts of Britain and Europe I couldn't add a 'first' that hung around with Greylags especially when there are so many wild Pinkfeet around. Yes I know the Greylags could be from Iceland too, but its all down to the balance of probabilities.
Chances are this Snow Goose is wild, but not wild enough for me.
Now if it had been at Boulmer....oh don't go there!