West Midland Bird Club

Worcestershire Geese, 1942

This article first appeared in the Annual Report of the Birmingham (latterly West Midland) Bird Club for 1942.

Bird names/ spellings were used as given.

For the scientfc names of these birds, and their current local status, see our county lists.



The following notes are complementary to the paper on Geese in Warwickshire that was published in the Report for 1941.

The Grey Lag Goose was recorded by Hastings in 1834 as being "of frequent occurrence in the winter season on our various rivers and pools." Tomes repeats this statement in his Victoria County History of 1904, but adds nothing to it. Thus, the only definite record of the species is of six birds which frequented Upper Bittell reservoir from March 23 - April 5, 1929.

The White Fronted Goose is found in large numbers near Berkeley in the Severn estuary during the winter months, and probably most of the grey geese that appear flying over Worcestershire are of this species. White Fronted Geese were identified at Bittell in January 1935 and 1939, in the Avon Valley in 1940, and flying over Sheriffs Lench near Evesham, on January 1st, 1941.

The Bean Goose was included in the V.C. H. Bird List by Tomes who saw specimens that had been shot, but he gives no dates. A single bird appeared at Bittell on March 27th, 1941.

Of the Pink Footed Goose, Tomes states that, like the Bean Goose, it "was formerly fairly common in the Severn district," and adds that he "has satisfactorily determined the species." The Barnacle is included in the 1834 bird list by Hastings, and Tomes states that it is "a rare bird in the County." Nothing further can be added for either of these species. It is probable that the 10,000 acres of Longdon Marsh near Upton-on-Severn was a haunt of wild geese in mediaeval times. The remnants of this marsh was finally drained in 1870.

The Brent Goose is recorded by Tomes as appearing "in an erratic manner, and generally singly, during the winter." One frequented Upper Bittell from December 31, 1934 until January 15th, 1935.

Canada Goose. Some 6-8 pairs nest annually on the Lake at Hewel Grange, and one pair at Witley Court ; birds from the former often frequent the Bittell reservoirs for short periods. It is probable that a few pairs of the species breed elsewhere in Worcestershire, and we shall be grateful to correspondents for information as to localities, if any.

That a large number of Geese have passed through the County in recent years is evident from the following records of Geese seen flying over Sheriffs Lench near Evesham. It may be assumed that most of them were Whitefronts passing to and from their winter grounds in the Severn estuary. The very large numbers that were noted on Jan. 12, 1941, and March 1, 1942, were seen to be following the river Avon from its junction with the Severn at Tewkesbury to as far upstream as Stratford-on-Avon. If they continued along this line of flight, it is not unlikely that these Geese were on their way to the Wash on the east coast via the River Nene, which has its source within a mile of that of the river Avon.

Geese seen flying over Sheriffs Lench
  1936. Nov. 5. 200, flying S. - N.E. 8-15 a.m.
  1938. Jan. 5. 66. N. - S. 4-15 p.m.
      12. 20. E. - S.W. 5-30 p.m.
  1939.   15. 1. N. - S. 4-00 p.m.
    Nov. 30. 17. S. - N. 3-00 p.m.
    Dec. 15. 30. E. - W. 12-5 p.m.
  1940. Jan. 10. 300. Whitefronts at Harvington.    
      21. 45. Whitefronts at Eckington.    
  1941.   1. 74. flying N.E. - S.E. 12-30 p.m.
      12. c. 500 S.W. - N.E. 12-30 p.m.
      19. 68. N.E. - S.W. 3-00 p.m.
    Feb. 2. 54. W. - E. 12-5 p.m.
      3. 5. W. - E. 9-00 p.m.
      4. 5. E. - W. 9-00 p.m.
      7. 34. E. - W. 1.00 p.m.
  1942. Jan. 25. 50. W. - E. 11-00 a.m.
    March 1. c. 500. S.W. - N.E. 12-5 p.m.

© West Midland Bird Club, 147 World's End Lane, Birmingham, England B32 1JX
Registered charity, number 213311

Ornithology in Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire & the West Midlands county, since 1929.

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