View Full Version : One for the ornithologists

El Grifo
5th Sep 2011, 12:19
I was shooting some twilight images in the south of Fuerteventura last week and was surprised to see a flight of 4 geese flying past in usual formation.
I have lived here for over 18 years and never witnessed such a thing.

I have no idea what particular species they were. Are geese normally found this far south ?

El G.

5th Sep 2011, 13:09
El Grifo

Good question

tony draper
5th Sep 2011, 13:22
Don't geese fly to Africa in the winter?:confused:

5th Sep 2011, 13:32
Knackered compasses I think.

5th Sep 2011, 13:36
Slight TD, but I was out on my terrace well after darkness had arrived last week, something very large flew past in the dark. Not a bat (we have large ones here but this was far larger) and not the Italian bruixa down the road as not on the ILS path to her house. I conjecture it was goose-size. But in the dark ?

There be stranger things out there, than we can imagine.

tony draper
5th Sep 2011, 13:42
Often hear Geese honking overhead in the dark,for some reason the sound frightens the life out of me dog,they are heading for me park lake I think,very popular with Canada Geese is me Park Lake,so they definitly dont mind flying at night.

uffington sb
5th Sep 2011, 13:46
It's the new ice age coming. Glaciers are growing, it's getting colder and critters are all heading south.


But according to the Met Office, the world's still getting hotter:ugh::ugh::ugh::ugh:

El Grifo
5th Sep 2011, 14:02
Don't geese fly to Africa in the winter

I don't know, do they. I thought they preferred more northerly climes !

Encountered night flying geese loads of times in Scotland. When it was a misty or foggy night the poor blighters would circle in the dark honking for ages.

5th Sep 2011, 14:45
Gulls definitely fly at night, I've seen them lit up in the beams from local lighthouses. :8

El Grifo
5th Sep 2011, 14:50
F114's fly at night, but what about my bloomin' Fuerteventura, far-south Geese.

Normal or not normal, por favor :ok:

5th Sep 2011, 14:55
El Grifo, sure you weren't just drinking in the Goose and Firkin?

Lord Spandex Masher
5th Sep 2011, 15:08
I'd be very surprised to see F114 flying, day or night!

HMS Ajax (F114) was a Leander-class frigate of the Royal Navy

HMS Ajax (F114) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Ajax_(F114))

El Grifo
5th Sep 2011, 15:13
Yep, a lot of people would be surprised to see an F114 flying at night.

Just about as surprised as I was to observe the "phalanx" of Geese.

Goose and Firkin no, Arehucas y Cola yes !

Ancient Observer
5th Sep 2011, 15:16
No, no, no,
the 114 goes from Ruislip to Harrow and then on to Mill Hill. It doesn't fly and it can't fly.
And if you got on it to go to lhr, just get off as you are on the wrong bus. Try the 140 next time.

5th Sep 2011, 15:17
Perhaps they woz Cranes? Have lots of em fly over 'Grenouille Land' heading South about this time of year.


5th Sep 2011, 15:20
Houbara bustard maybe ?

Houbara Bustard photo - Ray Purser Photography photos at pbase.com (http://www.pbase.com/image/107148224)

60cm long 140cm wingspan, found in the Canaries.

Don't know if they fly in formation though.

houbara bustard in the Canaries: A guide to Birds in Spain (http://www.iberianature.com/material/spain_birds/Houbara_bustard.htm)

El Grifo
5th Sep 2011, 15:42
Nope they were geese, flying in geese-like formation and honking.

This is turning into a wild goose chase :rolleyes:

G&T ice n slice
5th Sep 2011, 17:58
Well, round here the geese are a bit indecisive...

Last wednesday they were all flying south(ish)
then on thursday they were back flying north(ish)
on friday they came in low out of the sun flying east(ish)
They seem to have taken a day off on saturday
on sunday they were headed west(ish)
haven't seen them today.

El Grifo
5th Sep 2011, 18:09
Were any of them toting sunglasses and factor 20 did you notice ?

5th Sep 2011, 18:20
The Canaries are at the western fringe of the East Atlantic Flyway, one of the major migratory routes for birds. Some ducks to over-winter in west Africa, not sure about geese though - most tend to winter in more temperate climes in Europe. Its possible the ones you saw may have over-shot their destination, or perhaps escapees from a local aviculturalist?

If you could be more specific with the description and perhaps post a sound recording of you doing an impression of its call, I'll attempt an ID...

El Grifo
5th Sep 2011, 19:03
or perhaps escapees from a local aviculturalist

Nothing like that in remote Fuerteventura.

I have seen migrating geese hundreds of times in my native Scottish Borders. I get as big a thrill and sometimes bigger, to see a flight of swans coursing at treetop height down the River Tweed, or flock of geese migrating to their winter quarters, than I do seeing a 4 ship of F15's streaming into Nellis.

These were geese, pure and simple.

The honking sound, almost sychronised with their wingbeat was a sound I had not heard for years.

No biggie, but these are the first geese I have seen in these parts for over 18 years !

6th Sep 2011, 06:59
My RSPB contact has suggested Grey Lag Geese which are known around those parts

6th Sep 2011, 07:25
Like Canardly says...are you sure it wasn't a flying crane? Very distinctive call.


6th Sep 2011, 07:55
It'll take a bit of trawling through but you may find past records of geese in the Canary Islands here:

Rare Birds in Spain (http://www.rarebirdspain.net/home.htm)

Go to recent reports then past reports on the right-hand side; Geese species will always be near the top of the report, coz that's the order birdy experts like to put 'em in.


El Grifo
6th Sep 2011, 08:22
Phnuf. Grey Lags were a common site in Scotland and that is exactly what they looked like. I did not want to pre-empt the issue. I will now do some checking on this species.

Do youy have any background info ?

siseman, not really similar, colours are wrong. I did spot this or similar species taking a dump over a warm forest in Zakinthos last year !

6th Sep 2011, 14:46
BNot really
My wife works for the RSPB and I asked her to ask one of their experts - there was also the possibility of a 'Shelduck' (which despite the name is a goose) but they thought Grey Lag was most likely

El Grifo
6th Sep 2011, 17:53
As I say, Grey Lag was my first thought, but I never expected to see the species so far south.

One lives and learns.

Thanks guys :ok:

6th Sep 2011, 21:50
El Grifo,

Here in the S. of France we're not on the usual migration route for storks either....
And yet, I've seen some here, once in the 15 years we've been living here.

Makes you wonder if occasionally the chief navigator has set up the FMS wrongly, or gets pushed badly off course by the wind.

I can't understand Fuerteventura being on the normal route of your geese either..... so I keep following the story.

ETOPS diversion?


6th Sep 2011, 22:11
BBC News - Migrating birds rescued at Newgale after high winds (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-14790237)