Suffolk birdwatchers have been led on a wild goose chase this week, with North Warren very much to the fore as usual.
But this one was different, as it was possible to follow the movements of the said goose without even visiting the reserve!
News broke on New Year's Eve that a lesser white-fronted goose from a Swedish reintroduction scheme, wearing a GPS-transmitter, had roosted on the Minsmere Scrape the previous evening. This species is exceptionally rare in the UK, especially following recent declines in the Scandinavian breeding population, so there was understandable excitement at the prospect of spotting it.
Despite much searching, the goose was not seen at Minsmere, but was relocated alter that day at North Warren, feeding alongside 160 white-fronted geese, 20 tundra bean geese, and several hundred greylag, Canada and barnacle geese. Incredibly, there wasn't just one lesser white-front, but a mini flock of four young birds. Over the next few days these diminutive geese roosted on the Alde Estuary and fed by day either at North Warren or south of the reiver on Sudbourne Marshes.
Sadly, the lesser white-fronts have now departed, with their latest GPS reading indicating that they are near Bruges in Belgium. Perhaps they've realised that they should have flown SE to spend the winter near the Black Sea.
You can follow the movements of the GPS-wearing lesser white front at http://www.blessgans.de/?641.
There's also a chance to see some of the other geese at North Warren, as well as the hundreds of ducks that are feeding on the reserve, during a guided walk with Dave, the warden, this Saturday. the walk leaves the Thorpe Road car park in Aldeburgh at 10 am. Places are limited and cost £5 per person for RSPB members, or £8 for non members. To reserve your place please call Minsmere on 01728 648281 between 9 am and 4 pm.