Monday, 5 March 2012

Islands and Islets (2): Mersea Island - and its Brent and Brant Geese

We had checked the tide timetable before driving over the Strood to Mersea Island ...
The weather was bitter and blustery and it was hard to steady the camera ...
... I was determined, however, to try to capture these geese.
I suspect these are all Brent (rather than Brant) Geese ...
They were foraging in the tidal mud.
The one at the back looks as if it has a white collar that goes (almost?) all the way round.

West Mersea is an extraordinary place, with an unusual mix of wild, windswept coastal regions and small settled communities. We even noticed a Tesco! You can read about the history of the island here.

I checked the geese against the goose photos on the Mersea Wildlife blog, and am pretty sure that they are probably Dark-bellied Brent Geese (and not Black Brant Geese). It's a shame my record shots are just that due to the adverse weather conditions, but I was struck by the white collar on the goose at the back of the top photo. We must go back and explore the island further in better weather conditions.   

I was intrigued to learn that the Reverend Sabine Baring Gould (who wrote the words of 'Onward Christian Soldiers') spent a decade on the island as Rector of East Mersea. His book, Mehalah - A Story of the Salt Marshes, a best-selling Gothic Victorian tale, was based upon some of his island experiences. One of his other works was a biography of the eccentric Cornish clergyman, the Reverend Stephen Hawker of Morwenstow, who wrote ballads and kept an eye out for mermaids and shipwrecks from his cliffside hut.

2 comments:

L. D. Burgus said...

It does look cold in your pictures. I have never seen this kind of bird but it is an interesting one to see. My son lives on the east coast of US in Maine and they experience the tide coming and going. I sit in corn fields and never see any water.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I think brent geese may be my favourite geese....