Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Thwarted by an Egyptian.

There were quite a lot of comments posted about a particular shot I took during my Sunny Stroll in Richmond Park last month so I thought I would share a little background on this very different goose and the sequence of events that lead to the final capture.
The Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca) is an African species related to the Shelduck. Initially introduced into the UK in the 18th century (ornamental wildfowl collections) but you can now find many self sustaining resident feral populations in the south of England resulting from escapees. This species was formally added to the British List in 1971. My first sightings were in North Norfolk but you can now find them at many locations within my home county (Surrey) including a pair who sought an audience with me recently in Richmond Park. 
I was quietly minding my own business on one corner of the larger pond trying to crouch down behind some grass tussocks without getting my knees totally soaked in the yards of sticky mud in an effort to get some low water shots of a single Black-headed Gull feeding when the first of two interlopers decided to intervene.
This individual quickly drifted over from the other bank and purposely hauled itself out of the water and walked directly between the lens and the gull who promptly decided to fly away!
The sexes are extreemly similar although the males on average are slightly larger and they pair for life. There can also be a vast variation in plumage which is not age or sex related. However the juvenilles don't sport the brown patch on the breast or around the eye and the crown is dull brown rather than whitish as on these adults. Not shown in these shots are its contrasting white wing patches which are very distinctive in flying mode.
These geese were considered sacred by the Egyptians and appeared in much of their artwork.
I wasn't carrying any free handouts on this occasion but it didn't stop them from walking right up to my feet, nearly getting too close for the 70-300 lens to focus, and promptly started foraging on the very fresh wet grass just as if they owned the space.
So I'll repeat the final shot that left me in no doubt as to who had the upper hand in this encounter.
Can you think of a suitable caption? No prizes but you may just get a mention.    FAB. 
Check out more WORLD BIRD WEDNESDAY images here.

43 comments:

  1. Great images. The Bangles had a No.1 hit with "Walk like an Egyptian" in 1986....just a thought. A lovely bird to see.

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  2. Hi Frank, First of all may I wish you a very happy (though belated) Birthday. It sounded like you had a very pleasant time.

    I'm so sorry not to be able to keep up with your lovely posts and hope you will forgive me for not commenting on them individually but I have just spent an enjoyable 30 minutes or so reading the ones I have misssed and admiring the photos.

    Lots of interesting information here about the Egyptian Goose. They really are very striking creatures. I have only ever seen one at Draycote which stayed there for much of last year, it will be interesting to see if it returns this year. I noticed one of yours was ringed.

    Great photos and a very nice read!

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  3. Absolutely brilliant photos. Fancy getting him at short distant, Frank you'r a genius.

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  4. Great photos. Beautiful colors and nice to get such good close-ups - but too bad they scared off the gull.

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  5. I just love the last shot. That expression is priceless! Thanks for the background on how you got it.

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  6. Thanks Andrew. I nearly used that as the title but then changed it.

    Hi Jan. Thanks for the good wishes and delighted you had a good read.
    No need to apologize I have the same problem keeping up with my ever expanding reading list!
    I hope yours does return as they add a little bit of exotic to the landscape. Stay well.

    Cheers Bob. I thought at one stage the lens hood might become lunch!!

    Thanks mick. There are plenty of BH Gulls around who may sit for a portrait before much longer.

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  7. HI Frank...great photo's and good information too!!!
    I think Andrew hit the caption right on the head !!
    Anything I could think of would not match that!!
    I hope you had a chuckle at the time because they are pretty funny!!

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  8. What a gorgeous bird!! Totally brilliant-
    I think he is wondering if what you're holding is eidble? "Is that for me" he seems to be saying--

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  9. Belated birthday wishes Frank. A lovely post and great shots of a lovely bird!

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  10. Glad you had a chuckle Mona.

    Hi Grammie. I was more concerned as to which part of my anatomy it might grab ..lol.

    Hi Dixxe. You could be right but I don't think it was edible!

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  11. Thanks Angie, it passes all too quickly these days.

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  12. Nice post Frank. My first encounter with this species was at very close hand on a brief visit to the capital.... Walthamstow Reservoirs.
    I noted that it walked with a whole lot of attitude!! great bird though

    Dave

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  13. A very colorful goose! Love that last shot...he really was getting close and curious.

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  14. Thanks Dave. They definitely strut around with purpose.

    Yes Mary ... a little too close at times!!

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  15. Frank, faboulous shots! I have never seen this bird. What an encounter! As for that last shot, it looks like it is saying, "What are you looking at FRANK!"

    BTW, I just read through the other comments. I like the Constant Walker's suggestion!"Walk like an Eygptian..." Looks like he's doing it!

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  16. Pretty cool, looks like he's been in a bar fight.

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  17. They are beautiful birds, and you did a super job of documenting them!

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  18. Are you ever fortunate to have got their interest. Great looking fellows. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River,Canada.

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  19. Great images! I like the markings on him.

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  20. Great set Frank. They are striking birds aren't they.

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  21. Beautiful shots, particularly the two portraits. Thanks for the history as well.

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  22. I am laughing too hard to find a suiting caption for that last shot.
    What a story and what characters :D!

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  23. Very picturesque bird. They know how to stare down an intruder. I got a photo of one in Germany last summer - was so excited, thought I'd found a rarity - until I looked it up in my bird guide.

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  24. These are gorgeous birds and your photos are fantastic. A good read too!
    As for a caption - "Are you talkin' to me?"

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  25. That last image...priceless. Love these photos. Carol

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  26. Frank, fascinating, simply fascinating and the images are such fun, what a great looking pair of chaps. I still adore the bottom one shared before...what a look he gave your way, but each of these are really beautiful. Anything Egyptian, I enjoy since my father was raised there and my great grandfather was the first US Ambassador there. Lifting up that nation now~

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  27. Hi Kathie. I think it was more like "Who do you think you are"!! Yes, they sure now how to strut around.

    Hi Steve. You'll know all about that then?

    Thanks Willard. They are a bit different to our 'real' geese.

    Gary .. I didn't even have to try!

    Sally in WA. Cheers.

    Hi Keith. Thanks mate.

    Hi Arija. Thanks. Delighted to oblige.

    Hi Nicole. Thank goodness it didn't make you cry!

    Hi Hilke. Definitely more colourful than all the 'grey' geese.

    Thanks Pat. Nice suggestion.

    Thank you Carol. I hope you are feeling better.

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  28. Hi Mary. Your comments snuck in while I was responding to others. Very interesting to hear your family link with Egypt. Somewhere I've never visited but enjoy any programmes that deal with its ancient past.

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  29. Happy Bithday Frank,nice bithday presant and a very nice tick.
    John.

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  30. Caption: ''and you thought i looked odd!

    Nice one Frank :-)

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  31. Cheers Warren. Now that could be the winner!

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  32. Is there a better read than the Early Birder? I don't think so. Your writing is always brilliant and your photography is detailed.
    Its interesting that the Egyptian goose was considered sacred, given the news these days from that ancient country they could probably use some help from the Old Gods.
    Great post!

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  33. Cheers Springman. I appreciate the compliment but I sure there are plenty of other good reads to be found.
    You could be right about them needing to pay homage to the ancients.

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  34. Brilliant series of images. You were very lucky to get such close views though I get the impression the Goose was just as pleased to get close views of you!

    Adam @ My Life Outside

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  35. Thanks Adam. Those in the park can be all too friendly at times!

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  36. Hi JM. Thanks for visiting.

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  37. what a neat looking guy! Great series, but those last two i really love. He's giving you quite the look in the last photo- great stuff!

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  38. Johnny Nutcase. Thanks. They sure were inquisitive.

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  39. Great shots of the Egyptian Goose Frank, a bird I never heard of! It looks to me like he's saying "Excuse me, you're on my foraging grounds."

    I must say, I feel for your plight of having another bird get in the way when you're trying to photograph your target bird. Especially when it scares your intended target away.

    It is a strikingly handsome goose and your photos are gorgeous as always. Love the story behind them too.

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  40. Thanks very much Larry. If only I could speak Egyptian and a few other bird languages perhaps I could have stalled the interuption! Black-headed Gulls are so common that I'm sure I'll get plenty of more opportunities.

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  41. Hilarious - that's how it usually works with bird photography isn't it!? Beautiful images!

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  42. Thanks Dave. Appreciate your visit and comments.

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I hope you enjoyed your visit and I always appreciate your comments and feedback.

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