It’s the time of the year when I have better things to be doing than writing this and undoubtedly most of you have better things to be doing than reading what I write. Actually that’s true all year. So I’ll leave you with a quick mystery perhaps you can answer. You’ve heard of manky mallards, well today I came across a mere (glacial pond/lake) in Ellesmere, Shropshire, that was full of manky greylags. All kinds of weird domestic geese mixing with hybrids (certainly seemed to be some Swan Goose in them). And there was also this, along with some birds that looked like they could be crosses between this and a domestic/greylag.

mystery gooseMystery Goose!

I think it’s a Snow Goose. It is a possibility in Britain, and can be a much more common escape here too. It certainly seemed smaller than the Greylags and Canadian Geese around.


The Mere at Ellesmere is actually quite a nice spot, full of Tufted Ducks, Great Cormorants, Great Crested Grebes and Little Dabchicks. The surrounding wetlands on the Shropshire/Cheshire/Wales borders also held Eurasian Wigeon, Shelducks, Northern Shovellers and Common Teal.

The Mere At EllesmereAnd that’s enough of your time wasted. Happy New Year and see you then!

Written by Duncan
Duncan Wright is a Wellington-based ornithologist working on the evolution of New Zealand's birds. He's previously poked albatrosses with sticks in Hawaii, provided target practice for gulls in California, chased monkeys up and down hills Uganda, wrestled sharks in the Bahamas and played God with grasshopper genetics in Namibia. He came into studying birds rather later in life, and could quit any time he wants to.