BRENT GEESE (Branta bernicla)
These geese are 'winter visitors' arriving as early as late October from their breeding grounds in the Arctic regions. They fly in loose flocks along the coast, rather than in tight skeins like grey geese and are an 'Amber List' species because of the important numbers found at just a few sites.
These handsome, black and white, relatively small geese are present in the coastal sky, on the salt marsh mud and in the fields nearby where they feed on Eel grass and other vegetation. They are particularly fond of young cereal crops! Jane took the two accompanying photographs at Donna Nook last week. However, the Brents can be seen all along our coastal areas whilst they make the sky look very busy at the RSPB Frampton Marsh Reserve.
THERE ARE THREE SPECIES OF BLACK AND WHITE GEESE ON OUR SHORE.
HOW DO I KNOW WHETHER IT IS A CANADA, A BRENT OR A BARNACLE GOOSE?
An easy way to distinguish the smaller Brents from Canada geese is to look for the slim, white clerical collar around their necks. Canada geese have a much bigger white chinstrap whilst the Barnacle geese have a white face with grey, white and black feathers on their body.
Photos: Jane Woodcock