Tuesday, January 18, 2011

International Goose Count 18/1/2011

A quite reasonable day with some sunshine , a few showers, but basically acceptable!!

The first of two days of the International Goose Count aimed at establishing the current situation vis a vis the Greenland White-fronted Goose about which I have posted much in the past. A sub-species about which there is much concern such that it is treated, in many ways, as a fully fledged species in its own right. Pressures and changes on its breeding grounds are leading to continuing concerns as to its future numbers etc so that , within its wintering areas, particular surveys are given over to establishing numbers present. Certainly recent years have seen continuing declines and it would be good news indeed to see a rise in numbers , however small. The summated totals from today , and tomorrow , will reveal the picture in due course.

With such an intensive survey little time is available to take in other observations. However one, in particular, stands out! Towards the end of the day we were in the very north east of Islay, towards Bunnahabhain, and looked out routinely for the adult Iceland Gull that is present in the area. I managed to pick out the bird , with other gulls , around a fishing boat moving south down the Sound towards Port Askaig, but then lost it. Imagine my surprise when my companion said " Is this it" ? There it was sitting on the gunwhale of the small fishing boat, like some seasoned mariner, hitching a lift to Port Askaig where, doubtless, it would take advantage of the discarded spoils from the days catch! It's obviously learned a few short cuts in its repeated returns over the past few years given it first turned up as a first winter bird!!!

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