Sunday, 26 February 2012

Patch tick conundrum

I saw a Ross's Goose on the patch today. Can I add it to my Druridge patch list?

The goose in question was first picked up lifting off from near East Chevington by Alan Gilbertson and myself as a white goose amongst about 1000 pinkfeets. From a long-way off, it looked like quite big and we guessed it was a snow goose. A better view was required, the geese had landed one field north of the patch boundary, how frustrating.

Alan left and Janet arrived, we went for a better look. Closer inspection proved it to be an adult Ross's goose, but it was still outside the patch.

We spent the rest of the afternoon chainsawing, reducing the height of some alders and ash trees around our net-rides and doing some much-needed coppicing. As we worked, the geese flock got up a again and circled over the northern edge of the patch. The 'white one' was easily picked out.

Now the conundrum. Ross's goose still isn't on the official British list, residing in category D. Identification isn't in question, it's the origin of these birds that hasn't been confirmed. There have been a few Ross's in the UK over the past decade that look for genuine vagrants (timing and arrival with possible carrier species). Alongside this, the world population of Ross's has massively increased from an estimated 3000 individuals in the 1930's to 188,000 in the 1980's making genuine vagrancy more likely.

So what do I do?

Add Ross's Goose to the Druridge List? (I see from BUBO Listing that some Northumbrian birders have added the 2004 Hauxley Ross's goose to their county lists)

Create a 'pending' category and add it as an 'armchair' tick when the BOURC add it to the British list?


Forget all about it

Time to ponder. Despite spending the whole afternoon chainsawing, as well as Ross's Geese I managed to add oystercatcher and whooper swan to the year-list and watch two fantastic short-eared owls in the dunes.

79 oystercatcher
80 whooper swan
81 Ross's goose??? (Pending)


Stewart said...

I don't think so Iain. I've seen 5 Ross's Geese now including 2 on my patch last winter. As they are not yet on the BOU British List, it makes it tricky to add to a patch list. This stops patches being comparable really. Thats what I reckon anyway.

The other alternative is to tick EVERYTHING on a patch, even escapes, but record them as 'of unknown origin ( Ross's Geese, Red headed Bunting etc) 'or 'escape'( American Black Vulture, Cockatiel etc).

Its all personal really, but Ross's should definitely NOT be on county lists. Thats just cheating.

Stringer said...

Hmmmmmm......... Ross’s eh........ Stick to the gulls I reckon !!

I've had 3 at Newton, 2 this last autumn and 1 the previous winter (geese that it is, not them pink gulls unfortunately).

Last autumn I saw them on a couple of days, flying a little way inland of my patch boundary, but my feet were firmly planted on the patch. In that situation Ross's Goose would have been slammed straight onto the patch list......well........ apart from the fact they're SO plastic !

There are escaped/feral breeding populations in Europe, and I believe they are in Scotland too.... For me this suggests that many UK ross’s geese are perhaps less likely to be lost Canadian "taggers on" with Greenland barnies and pinkfeet, and more likely to be (relatively) local feral birds.

So in response to your question... "forget it !"......... or at least, don’t worry about it until a proven wild bird is accepted by BOURC. Perhaps you could spearhead a ross’s goose neck-collaring scheme, a nice little side project !

Oh and by the way, what the feck are you doing looking at BUBO ?? That way madness lays my friend, it’s a downward spiral and before you know it you’ll find yourself making inane posts on turdforum!!