The Red Breasted Goose on the North Slobs turned up about two months
earlier than most of the allegedly wild birds that appear in the UK? It
came in on NNW winds which is a little strange for an Eastern vagrant?
The fact that only three Booted Eagles are know to be held captivity is
reassuring. It's important to keep an open mind about what can turn up.
It's equally important to be aware of what is held illegally in
captivity. The birds,animals & reptiles that humans hide away in their
homes is staggering.
Most birders like to see new birds. Twitchers enjoy twitching birds.
Denial can creep in when the people involved have to consider that they
may in fact be looking at cage birds. Any attempt to rationalise this
unpalatable fact away diminishes all involved.
Lee G R Evans wrote:
>Although I know Killian's view on the Red-breasted Goose and Booted Eagle
>occurrences in Ireland and I have read the reasons put forward by the IRBC for
>their categorization in the respective Irish Rare Bird Reports, I would
>appreciate some feedback from other Irish birders.
>In my view, I feel that both these birds should be given the benefit of the
>doubt as there is no supportable evidence that indicates that these were
>escaped birds. I accept that Red-breasted Geese are commonplace in captivity,
>particularly in Britain, and frequently escape but with Booted Eagle only 3 birds
>were known of in captivity at the time of its occurrence.
>Furthermore, the Red-breasted Goose at North Slobs arrived at a time when the
>species regularly appears as a vagrant to Western Europe and departed with
>Greenland White-fronts on their return north in March. Known escaped
>Red-breasted Geese in Britain turn up at silly times like in April, May and August, often
>as singletons and soon team up with local feral geese such as Canadas,
>Barnacles or Greylag. Many bear plastic rings (often coloured) and once with feral
>geese tend to linger with them forever making only localised movements.
>Red-breasted Geese in Britain have a history of appearing with different
>species of wild geese, from Icelandic Pink-feet, Eurasian White-fronts, Novaya
>Zemlya Barnacles, Icelandic Greylag and Siberian Dark-bellied Brent Geese.
>Obviously those accompanying the latter are most well respected, but here in
>Britain, those with other congeners have all been accepted by the relevant committees
>as well as by the UK&I400 Club as relating to wild vagrants. Likewise, I
>consider the Wexford bird with Greenland White-fronts to have just as good
>credentials as many of our birds and that is why I accepted it.
>As for the Booted Eagle which toured Ireland for several months, history has
>subsequently proved this species' wintering potential in the Western P. Surely
>this bird was a forerunner of what is now the norm. I've lost count of the
>number of Booted Eagles now recorded in the Netherlands and Low Countries and
>birds now regularly winter in the Camargue, on the Balearic Islands and in
>Spain. This winter saw unusual numbers in Italy, including a surprisingly tame and
>confiding, particularly tatty juvenile!! As I stated at the time of the
>occurrence, did this inexperienced bird not take a wrong turning in North Africa or
>the Canary Islands one warm February morning and make landfall in Wexford (as
>Great Spotted Cuckoo has done in the past)? It could have even been present in
>Ireland undetected since the previous autumn.
>Although the Kerry Hooded Merganser proved how difficult it can be when
>investigating the origins of wildfowl (this bird was believed by observers to be
>wary and unringed at first), I am pleased that it did not taint the appraisal of
>the more recent Bufflehead record from Cork. However, if one reads the
>account of the 1957 Armagh Hooded Merganser in Ireland, surely the treatment
>afforded the Red-breasted Goose is contradictory and inconsistent
>Very best wishes
>LEE G R EVANS
>UK400 Club, Rare Birds Magazine & Ornithological Consultancy
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