Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Greylag geese at Alnwickhill

During lunchtime I nipped to Alnwickhill Water Treatment Works, which is nearby and a loafing spot for gulls. There were few around today, probably as a result of the heavy machinery operating in the area. Edinburgh's new water supply pipe is being laid just next to the site, and when it is connected the treatment plant will be redundant. Not sure what the various gulls, Northern Lapwings and wildfowl will do then. Certainly, I don't think there will be many suitable alternatives for them in the immmediate neighbourhood. Of course, I think that one of the reasons for the new pipe is the unwanted combination of flocks of birds floating around on Edinburgh's drinking water.

Today's highlight was a small flock of Greylag Geese in a field next to the works. I haven't seen them here before, although I have seen small numbers of Canada Geese on the filter beds.

Of course Greylag Geese can be seen year round at Duddingston Loch at the base of Arthur's Seat, and that is probably where these birds are from. I do see the Duddingston birds over the house fairly frequently.

On the other hand, they just might be real wild birds born and bred in Iceland. I do see skeins of those (I presume) high overhead once in a while, though not as often as the Pink-footed Geese.

Today's Greylags certainly looked a bit smarter and behaved a bit wilder than this bird I photographed at Duddingston Loch earlier in the year. It was suffering from a deformity or damage to its bill which appeared to be giving it some trouble preening - a very unkempt look indeed.

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