On Sunday, a,near adult or adult Red breasted Goose turned up with the Pinkfeet in Druridge Bay, near Hemscott Hill Farm.
I assumed it to be the bird that has frequented Big Waters, near Newcastle, since the autumn, but, now that it 'looked wild' I thought I would have a look, for insurance purposes you understand.
The bird at Big Waters was originally with some Greylags, and looked nothing like being wild, so I didnt bother with it. As Sunday progressed, word came out that this might be a different individual. Also fanning the flame, apparently there was a dark bellied Brent and a Barnacle Goose with it, so it could end up being accepted by BBRC. Mmmm...
Monday morning before work was lovely and sunny with a light ground frost as I pulled into the Drift Cafe car park, at Cresswell. The Red breasted Goose was feeding only a hundred yards away behind the cafe, with some vigilant Pinkfeet and, sure enough, a Dark bellied Brent and a Barnacle Goose were near by.
I set up my scope to grill the bird. What a real stunner it was, a harlequin, bedecked in black, white and chestnut, shorter than the Pinkfeet with a smaller bill too. Possibly one of the smartest of the whole wildfowl crew.
Then the bomb dropped. As it wandered around, I noticed it was wearing the trappings of captivity in the form of a blue/grey closed ring on its left leg. It was just a fine band, and on a black leg it would be impossible to see at range, but here, at scope filling range, there was no doubt, our bird was a fence -hopper!
Oh well, never mind, one day we might get a real one...