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.
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.