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Thursday
Apr102008

Bird Days

Egyptian Geese

Yesterday I went out with my daughter Zoe for a walk round the Reading University lakes.  The pair of Egyptian geese that had 7 chicks back in early February have only 3 surviving but these seem to be fairly healthy.  They were stood preening themselves on the shore near Foxhill House.

Egyptian Goose grey morph

Near the middle lake we came across the younger pair of Egyptian geese, the ones that had failed to bring up any chicks in the previous two years, partly because the male had a damaged leg.  However, this time the male had been usurped by an aggressive grey-morph male and was reduced to skulking in the long grass 20 or 30 metres away.  Whenever he tried to approach his ex-mate, the grey male would fly at him and chase him off.  The grey male must have arrived on the scene in only the past few days: it wasn't there last weekend.  There also seems to have been quite a bit of fighting between the two males: there were red patches of blood on the leading edges of the grey male's wings (the blood is not visible in the above photo); we didn't get close enough to see state of the rufous male.

 Right at the top of the middle lake a swan was sitting on a nest and while we were watching it laid this egg.

This afternoon, Zoe and I caught a train to Pangbourne and walked back the 5 miles to Reading.  Along the way we saw at least 4 buzzards, 3 red kites and 3 kestrels.  I tried to photograph them but they were either too high or in the direction of the sun, so all I came back with was this photo of a dunnock.

Reader Comments (1)

Hi - I have been searching the web for info on egyptian geese and eventually found your site. The reason I have been looking for info is that I too am a regular at Whiteknights lake and have been following the egyptian geese family all year. I'm not sure what you know recently, but it seems that of the 3 offspring were 1 male and 2 female. Mum and Dad appear to have separated shortly after several quarrels where I believe Dad was trying to chase away the young now that they are fully grown. I have not seen Mum for a number of days now and Dad is at the lake on his own. The 3 young still visit the lake on their own but as recently as this morning I watched the Dad continue to torment the male of the young in particular so I wonder how long it will be that I will see the young at the lake. I will be very sad to lose them, indeed Dad has turned into a bit of an old grump. I wonder if Mum got injured or killed defending the young against Dad or simply had enough of him and has found someone else! I am disappointed that there isn't more information available on these wonderful and interesting birds so I was pleased to see someone else who shares an interest in them, especially from the same lake. I thought you might be inetesredt in the update if you weren't aware yourself.
June 9 | Unregistered CommenterMel

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