Tuesday 7th February 2012 - Local Patch Lifer!!!

This morning I had a text off Tony letting me know that a Barnacle Goose was again present on Captains Pool.  This bird had visited the pool briefly on a couple of other occasions since the 2nd of February, so when I had chance later that morning I headed over to see if it was still present.  I know to some folks Barnacle Geese in the Midlands are 'a bit plastic'  because they are part of a feral breeding population but in my opinion they are still a welcome sight on the local patch.

I pulled up at Tony's (who kindly let me park there whilst he was out) and scanned the 90% frozen Captains Pool I began to scan.  There were 22 Black-headed Gulls visible on Ice.  Only 2 Canada Geese and a Coot could be seen on the small area of free water by the island.  I then heard more geese calling from near the dam but they were out of site.  I decided to walk round the footpaths to have a look.

On arriving at the dam I came across a small area of free water in the near left hand corner.   Here, and on the surrounding ice were 27 Canada Geese and with them was the Barnacle Goose.  It was great to see one so close up as  you could clearly see that it was only about 15% bigger than a Mallard...a really small but smart looking bird.  Also in this small area were an adult Mute Swan, 3 Moorhens and 62 Mallards.

I then walked from the dam into the nearby section of Spennells Vally NR but saw little of note.  On my way back over the dam I stopped to view the wildfowl again, only this time I picked up on something different...a cracking ♀ Mandarin Duck.  This was a patch lifer for me and only the 2nd ever recorded at Captains Pool.  It was probably present before tucked away on some roots at the edge of the pool out of sight.  I presume it had ended up at Captains through cold weather movement.

I rang up TS, who was now back, and he popped round to enjoy close views of this bird.  I then rounded the day off by partaking of a hot beverage at Tony's Cafe before heading home...its a good job he had picked up a new box of tea bags whilst he was out! 

♀ Manadarin - Captains Pool, 7th Feb 2011

 Click on image to enlarge

Click on image to enlarge

Wildfowl on a frozen Captains Pool 

Click on image to enlarge

Barnacle Goose - Captains Pool, 7th Feb 2011


  1. Hi Jason, plastic Barnacle or not there still a real pleasure to see! Strangely enough, we had a Barnacle in with the Canada Geese at Brandon Marsh today. Maybe he gets around :)



  2. Wow, you shot a lot of waterfowl, even the Barnacle Goose, really good photos.

  3. A great 'Patch Lifer' for you Jason!
    Your image of the Barnacle Goose alongside the Canada Geese gives a good size comparism.

    Splendid shots!

  4. I`d welcome a Barnacle Goose on my patch, Jason. I have come close though with 2 Canacles ;-)

  5. Good one Jason, maybe you'll pick up mandarin regular now :-) Personally I would have liked the Mute Swan!! :-)

  6. I have never been keen on this 'plastic' term. I've heard the same said of Egyptian Geese and Mandarins but I'm happy to see any of them :) Well done on your Mandarin and Barnacle neither of which I have seen here. I know there have been Barnacles in good numbers from time to time at Draycote although not when I have been there. I had never realised they were so much smaller than Canadas. Well done, Jason a rewarding day for you!

  7. Keith - I'm glad there are others who agree with me on Barnacle Goose. I think there are a small number floating around the Midlands that probably originate from the feral breeding population at Slimbridge.

    Bob - Many thanks , it was a good day for photos

    Pam - I was over the moon with the Mandarin as you can well imagine. Yes I too like the comparison shot..you just dont realize how small Barnacle Geese are

    Dean - I should probably go to the doctors if you are getting Canacles!!! ;-)

    Warren - I wont hold my breath for another Manadarin on the patch soon but mMute Swan...they are a weekly occurance ;-)

    Jan - I am in total agreement with you with regards the afformentioned species. There was a Barnacle at Brandon Marsh recently too (see Keith Boat Birder's post above)...so I'm sure it wont be long before you connect with one