Monday, 30 November 2015


After 4 plus years I've decided to call time on this blog. Its been great fun and I'm not about to stop posting about my stuff  - I did think about it but I've got the blogging bug now and its a wonderful way of recording and sharing ones experiences. Here's the link to the new Blog

BAGGINS ON THE LOOSE - my brand new Blog

Grey geese and Starling flocks

A tramp around the fields nr the river Idle (S. Yorks/ N Notts) with top mate Mark P, kicks off the new blog - pretty much the same format but with a slight change of emphasis - I'm looking to get more into video footage and whilst my wildlife experiences in both the UK and abroad will be the major focus, I'll be giving up some room for a bit of music too. All my old posts dating back to 2011 remain available here Old Posts

No wild goose chase this, we knew exactly what we were doing, but there sure was a lorra lorra geese! Mainly of the Pink Footed variety and none of the rarer like Bean or White Fronted but the sheer numbers in some of these fields was good to see (wonder what the farmers think?) - here's 3 of an estimated 1500!

bagginsontheloose, flight, geese
Pink Footed Geese, Idle Valley. 18/11/15
a few more....
Pink Footed Geese, Idle Valley. 18/11/15

and here on the deck with some heavily outnumbered Whooper Swans of which there were a mere 30 or so all told

bagginsontheloose, winter, swans, geese, fields
Pink Footed Geese and Whoopers, Idle Valley. 18/11/15
Just as numerous on the day and indeed right across the UK at the moment is the humble Starling. There's many a 'murmeration' to be had and in this neck of the woods Potteric Carr nr Doncaster is a good bet for a good evening roost experience. This flock of maybe a 1000 or so however were on a local pig farm and getting well stuck in to the porker's feed!
Starling flock, Idle Valley. 18/11/15

Starling flock, Idle Valley. 18/11/15

Fieldfares coming into roost, Idle Valley. 18/11/15

Northern thrushes in evidence too with circa 400 Fieldfares and half as many Redwings. Always skittish but these Fieldfares coming into roost made a pleasant image even though the light was pants!

So, lots and lots of Pink Footed Geese, Starlings, Redwings and Fieldfares, just 4 of the 60 or so bird species that choose to spend their winters in the relatively mild climes of the UK. So where've they all come from dude?

Pink Footed Geese arrive here in their thousands from their breeding grounds in the Arctic circle, mainly Greenland, Iceland and Spitzbergen.

Starlings breed here in the UK of course but our own population is massively swelled in the winter by migrants from Scandinavia

Fieldfares breed widely in western continental Europe but the vast majority of our winter visitors come from Scandinavia and north west Russia. A handful of pairs sometimes breed in Scotland.

Redwing, Fairburn Ings. Dec 2012
Redwings have a similar breeding range to Fieldfares, again with a very small and dwindling Scottish population, but interestingly they have a strong Icelandic population and many of our wintering visitors come from here as well as Scandinavia.

Been quite a while since I've managed a good Redwing pic and had to trawl the old blog for this one there's a challenge for the next few months!

Starling, Fangfoss. 20/11/15
Starlings are somewhat easier of course and close up they really are beautiful birds, especially caught in good light.

This is one of many that are roving around my local patch here in Fangfoss. Maybe not quite as 'glossy' looking in their winter plumage, its undeniably smart and this one reminded me of a similarly posed bird I took a picture of in the Algarve a couple of years ago but that was a Spotless Starling, the species that takes over from our own in southern Europe... spot the difference?!
Spotless Starling, Algarve. 03/13

 Oh to be in the Algarve right now, with the rain pelting down on my caravan and the wind playing havoc with the awning, I'm tempted to book a flight right now!