I reckon the Ross’s Goose currently wintering on the Solway with thousands of Barnacle Geese is the real deal. I’ve just been watching it again this afternoon on Skinburness Marsh and each time I see it with the wild geese I think that maybe it should be taken more seriously. If it was a Snow Goose I’m certain it would be given the benefit of the doubt and everyone would be happily ticking it, but are we being over-cautious just because it is a Ross’s? Presumably this bird has returned for it’s second consecutive winter – as an adult also wintered on the Solway in 2010/2011 (An adult also wintered with the Barnies on the Solway back in 2002/2003). This bird arrives with the bulk of the Barnies in autumn, and disappears with them in spring too. Maybe it’s time the BBRC took that brave first step and accepted one onto Category A like the Dutch Rarities Committee have? (They could start with the 1st winter bird that wintered with the Pinks in Norfolk in 2001/2002 cuz I saw that one too!). Regardless of whether it’s a wild bird or not, I think it’s definately worth a look, it is a stunningly beautiful goose. This winter North Cumbria has been enjoying unprecedented numbers of scarce and rare geese. Apart from the genuine Ross’s Goose, so far in 2012 we have had a blue morph Snow Goose with pinkfeet, a 1st winter Red-breasted Goose with the Barnacles, dozens of Tundra Bean Geese, Greenland Whitefronts and hundreds of European Whitefronts – it’s goose heaven out there right now.
In a normal winter finding just one Whitefront is a challenge, this year they are seemingly everywhere! I stumbled across 13 near Calvo today with pinks.