Thursday, 17 November 2011


Here are a couple of pictures taken by Stuart Read of this stunningly colourful red-breasted goose currently in the area near the Strood Channel near West Mersea. Stuart visited the site at the bottom of the Strood Hill and photographed the geese on Wednesday 16th. The bird was still present throughout Thursday too and can be easily viewed from the seawall.

Luckily the bright russet chest and head helps to locate the bird when it's feeding in the wheat field amongst 500 dark-bellied brent geese. It can't be missed when it lands on the water.

If the brent goose flock get spooked whist feeding in the field, they fly onto the nearby channel for twenty minutes or so, before returning back to the field. Although lots of red-breasted geese are kept in many wildfowl collections, this goose has all the credentials of being a wild bird - as all of Mersea's previous five records have all been judged to be.

More of a challenge for the goose enthusiast is trying to pick out the blacker looking Black brant - the North American and east Siberian race of brent goose, pictured above in Stuart's photo. There is also currently a black brant at East Mersea at Cudmore Grove Country Park. The two birds differ slightly with the Strood bird having less white on the flanks, although it seems to be quite extensive in this photo of it above. The bigger white neck collar meeting under the chin is another feature of black brants.

Amongst the 500 dark-bellied brent geese on the Cudmore Grove fields, is this pale-bellied brent goose, photographed by Stuart back on the 20th October. Stuart was the first person to find this bird and it's now been present on the fields every day for a month now.

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